AUD $750.00

Indus Valley "bull" Cup


A delightful, very refined, decorated pottery drinking cup, is from the Indus Valley Civilization.
This drinking cup (or soup bowl) has linear borders and humped bulls, palm and cypress trees painted in lines using a matte Burnt Umber (almost black) glaze and possibly Red Ochre. (The use of palm trees reminds me also of the "Trans Cultural" carved steatite bowls from Elam found around the Persian Gulf and Bahrain.)
There’s a very Greek, yet also Etruscan, feel to both the linework and the colours used on this piece.

Whether it is a big drinking cup or a deep soup bowl is debatable, but the convex bulge sits very comfortably in two cupped hands, your little fingers fit beneath it where the slightly raised base allows.

The clay itself is a mildly toned buff/terra cotta but it appears to have been either "overfired" or subjected to fire later in it's history as the appearance is "burnt" and the Red Ochre borders may only be heat discolouration. Of course this only adds to it's romance and history purely by raising more unanswerable questions.

It is believed that the Indus Valley Civilization was destroyed when the water supplies were removed, when the rivers upon which it was built changed course and moved away.

The skilled wheel throwing has produced a fine thin cup not unlike the fineness of the high quality porcelains of China and in more recent centuries the West.
The vertical sides, narrowing then flaring towards the rim, are slightly convex to allow extra grip and the cup sits on a low, turned base.

Generally in very good condition, for it’s age (which is roughly 3,500 years!)  It rings when gently flicked and therefore seems to have no cracks. But I'm puzzled by an "incomplete" crack, 1 cm is visible then it is covered in a muddy encrustation, these are often applied to disguise repairs and fine cracks, however this "crack" whilst having some length actually goes nowhere, dissappearing under the mud.

Age: Circa 1,500 B.C.

Size: Diam 119 mm x H 105 mm

Weight: 382 grams.