Video © National Museums Scotland.
This stunning bronze jug was found at Trimontium during the 1905-1910 excavations and now on display in National Museums Scotland, Edinburgh. It was likely a luxury object, imported from Italy and used for wine. It dates to the late 1st century. Standing at 12 inches, this ewer or oenochoë has an ovoid body, flat base and turned-over rim decorated with an ovolo border. It presents a band of decoration around the body with a lotus pattern and traces of silver inlay.
The handle is adorned with floral motifs in relief. Grasping the rim, two stylized long-beaked water birds emerge from pointed reeds. The handle ends in a swirl motif framing a female head, with braided hair, hanging curls, and silver inlay in the eyes.
Although well preserved, the jug presents signs of usage. The point of the leaf which would have curved upwards at the top of the handle has broken away and the silver plating has worn off.
This type of vessel represents the art of the early empire, strongly influenced by Greek tradition. Similar items were found at Pompeii and throughout the Empire. In Scotland, the Hunterian Museum has a similar type vessel from Sadlerhead in Lesmahagow. One from Thebes, Egypt, can be seen at the Royal Ontario Museum.
Image © National Museums Scotland.