Mycenaean Phi Idol with an Exceptional Form

Culture: Mycenaean
Period: Early 14th century B.C.
Material: Terracotta
Dimensions: 10.8 cm high
Price: Sold
Ref: 2220
Provenance: From the famous Swiss antiquities collection of Hans Erlenmeyer (1900-1967). Thence Sotheby’s London, 9 July 1990, lot 29. Thence Italian private collection. Again auctioned off at Pandolfini on 27 October 2009, lot 236. With Italian export papers!
Condition: Parts of the left arm reattached, otherwise intact.
Description: Very rare form of a Mycenaean Phi idol, named after the Greek letter Φ. The bird-like head with long, semi-circular nose and a rounded back of the head. The eyes are circularly set. The flat upper body is ovoid, the small breasts – like the eyes – circularly set. The upper body merges to a short, cylindrical lower body which opens up to a base ring towards the foot. The arms are, contrary to the standard Phi type, are worked out and are resting with recognizable hands under the breasts on the body. The mostly preserved red-brown and dark brown paint depicts on the front and on the back a broad vertical line from where on the front horizontal lines emerge. Around the neck painted jewellery.