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Handle in the Form of a Youth

Many of the finest surviving Greek bronze statuettes were made to enliven metal vessels. Here, a naked youth (kouros) arches his back to form a slender handle, probably for a wine jug or water carrier. As the young man bends backwards, he grasps the tails of two reclining lions and a serpent rises from his feet. The presentation of the figure was clearly of prime importance to the artist, but the functional use of the piece was not forgotten—the handle is surprisingly easy to hold. Greek city-states in Ionia, a region located along the western coast of Anatolia (modern Turkey), were well known for fine metalsmithing workshops and it is likely that this piece was made there.

Greek, probably made in Samos, Ionia
Handle in the Form of a Youth
Archaic period, ca. 540 BC
Bronze, solid cast
H. 6 1/8 in. (15.5 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Gift of the Honorable Burton Y. Berry in recognition of Chancellor Herman B Wells’s services to the University, 78.58