A very large and rare patera, consisting of a shallow, pan-shaped bowl of circular form with a flat bottom, and a long flanged handle which ends in a hook for hanging.
The terminal has a very interesting, almost modern form which can be "read" in two ways: either we see a bird's head with a long curving neck, looking away from the handle, or the image of a swan swimming towards the patera, its curving neck merging into the handle; the engraving on the terminal adds to this illusion.
The majority of paterae consists of a shallow bowl or dish without a handle, or with a loop handle attached to it (see Caccioli, p. 57-66, and De Puma, p. 55, no. 4.7, and p. 153-160, for Etruscan bronze vessels in general, and paterae in particular). But paterae with a handle are also known, often decorated; see for example Richter (1915), p. 210-214, no. 580, for a handle showing a variety of scenes (Greek); p. 217-218, no. 598; p. 39, no. 57; Richter (1917), p. 176, no. 226; Wunderlich, p. 164-166 (handles showing a winged goddess); compare Metmuseum New York, accession number 03.24.4 or Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, accession number 54.162
More importantly for our patera see Richter 1915, p. 172-173, no. 444 (a handle terminating in the head of a dog or wolf; Roman) and particularly Caccioli, p. 60-61 and pls. 30-31 (cat. no. 27, accession number 51.72) for a patera handle with a duck's head terminal.
For a very close parallel see also the patera offered for sale by Sotheby & Co., London, Egyptian, Near Eastern, Greek and Roman Antiquities, 6th July, 1964, lot 156; compare also Volonté - Cattaneo, p. 26, fig. 8.
There is some discussion among scholars about the question for what purpose a patera was used: commonly accepted is the view that they were used for rituals, to pour libations of wine or other liquids, but some believe that they played a role as part of a banquet service. The difference in shape, with or without a handle, may also play a role here.
David A. Caccioli, The Villanovan, Etruscan and Hellenistic Collections in the Detroit Institute of Arts (Monumenta Graeca et Romana, vol. 14) (Leiden-Boston, Brill, 2009);
Richard Daniel De Puma, Etruscan Art in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2013);
Gisela M.A. Richter, Greek, Etruscan and Roman Bronzes (New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1915);
Gisela M.A. Richter, Handbook of the Classical Collection (New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New and Enlarged Edition, 1927);
Anna Maria Volonté - Patrizia Cattaneo (eds.), Museo Civico Guido Sutermeister di Legnano, guida alle collezioni (Torino, Umberto Allemandi, 2008);
Silvia A. Wunderlich, "A Bronze Patera Handle", The Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art, Vol. 34, No. 7, Part I (1947), p. 164-166.
4th-3rd century B.C.
Length 55 cm., diameter of bowl 24 cm.
Swiss private collection of Wladimir Rosenbaum (1894-1984, the former owner of Galleria Serodine, Ascona, Switzerland); thereafter with Ostracon Ancient Art, Thalwil, Switzerland.
Intact, in excellent condition with a superb patina and patches of golden river patina.