Ancient Mediterranean

Digital Project

Small fishing boat

Cat. No.



c. 1125/1100-1050 B.C. (LC IIIB)





Proto-White Painted belly handled amphora

Accession Number

Hadjiprodromou collection


Iacovou 1988: 15, no. 5,21; 2006a: 199, figs. 3a-b; Karageorghis and Des Gagniers 1974: 7, fig. 2; Knapp 2019: 144; Wachsmann 1998: fig. 4.11; Westerberg 1983: 16-17, no. 12, fig. 12

The craft is represented by a single crescentic line inside which two figures stand upright and appear to be rowing. The left figure holds a line in his right hand that is probably a fishing line since it appears to lead to the mouth of the fish below the boat. This makes a lot more sense than suggesting that he is holding two oars. The craft is too schematic to be of any usefulness in terms of analyzing morphology.

The belly handled amphora is a trademark shape of PWP and WP I. The pictorial treatment of this vase breaks the rules of PWP syntax by replacing the typical band of geometric motifs on the shoulder with a frieze of large fish and two figures in a small boat, making the decoration unique. The boat is much smaller than the fish and is located on the upper part of the frieze on the shoulder, above one of the handles.

This is one of the few representations of a small boat and is very likely a fishing scene. Not only is the decoration unparalleled, but the human figure so far occurs on only four out of fourteen pictorial PWP vases. Fishing scenes are known from a 12th century hydria from Naxos (Hadjianastasiou 1996: 1439, pls. I-II) and an LH IIIC krater from Kynos (Dakoronia and Kounouklas 2015: fig. 9).

Iacovou, M. 1988. The Pictorial Pottery of Eleventh Century B.C. Cyprus. Göteborg: P. Åström.

―――. 2006a. “À Contretemps: Late Helladic IIIC Syntax and Context of Early Iron Age Pictorial Pottery in Cyprus,” in E. Rystedt and B. Wells (ed.) Pictorial Pursuits: Eigurative Painting on Mycenaean and Geometric Pottery. Paper from Two International Round-Table Conferences on Mycenaean and Geometric Pottery at the Swedish Institute at Athens in 1999 and 2000. Stockholm: Svenska Instituted I Athen, pp. 191-203.

Karageorghis, V. and J. Des Gagniers. 1974. La céramique chypriote de style figuré. Âge du Fer (1050-500 av. J.-C.). Roma: Istituto per gli Studi Micenei ed Egeo-Anatolici.

Knapp, A. B. 2018. Seafaring and Seafarers in the Bronze Age Eastern Mediterranean. Leiden: Sidestone Press.

Wachsmann, S. 1998. Seagoing Ships & Seamanship in the Bronze Age Levant. College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press.

Westerberg, K. 1983. Cypriote Ships from the Bronze Age to c. 500 B.C. (SIMA, Pocket-books, 22). Göteborg: P. Åströms förlag.

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