This bronze cast vessel was polished, while the handles and decorations were hammered and/or decorated in repoussé.
It is low with a perfectly rounded profile, and a flat bottom that provides a good balance. The two semi-circular, large handles are maintained by two coil-shaped attachments. This adornment is held in place by two rivets, clearly visible inside the cup. The decoration is completed by four thick edges soldered horizontally on each side of the handles, punctuated by vertical lines; they are surmounted by semi-spherical nail heads.
Such vessels are well-attested in Anatolia during the second half of the 8th century B.C., as documented especially by the excavations of monumental tombs discovered near Gordion, the capital of ancient Phrygia. Some were made of precious metal (bronze) and were intended for the high classes of society, but there are also wood examples (probably provided with bronze handles) and ceramic specimens. As it is often the case, these ceramic versions should be considered as imitations of lesser value used by the more humble classes. Before being placed in the tomb, these cups probably served in daily life, as drinking vessels at banquets or as cult containers during religious rites.
The oldest examples, like ours, come from Phrygia, where bronze craftsmen had created the prototypes, later imitated in various areas of the Eastern Mediterranean. Such vessels were probably manufactured until the early 6th century B.C.
Phrygia was a region of west-central Anatolia, famous for having been the kingdom of Midas, who received from Dionysus the power to turn into gold everything he touched. Politically, this region dominated the Anatolian world between the collapse of the Hittite Empire (late 2nd millennium B.C.) and the rise of the Lydian Kingdom (7th century B.C.), which was in turn invaded by the Medes in the 6th century B.C.