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Jan Driessen

21. Connecting the Pieces: Egypt, Dendra, and the Elusive ‘Keftiu’ Cup1

Nancy R. Thomas

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  • 1 I gratefully acknowledge the help of the following people: Michael Braunlin, Fritz Blakolmer, Anne (...)

1What is the most Aegean-looking vessel to appear in Egyptian painting? In the past I would have said the Vaphio-type cup adorned with bulls’ heads and rosettes depicted on the wall of Senmut’s tomb in Western Thebes (TT 71). This early New Kingdom image, contemporary with Aegean LM II/LH IIB, presents a Vaphio-type cup, which scholars agree is a purely Aegean shape, decorated with a motif that also seems like an Aegean icon: frontally viewed bulls’ heads with rosettes between their horns (Fig. 21.1).

2Two problems, however, prevent our saying that Senmut’s painted cup is a depiction of a purely Aegean vessel. First, the bull’s head motif is too routinely declared to be ‘Aegean’; its Mediterranean-wide background is frequently neglected by scholars. Second, Senmut’s painted cup has never been clearly matched to a comparable vessel – a real cup – from a well-documented context in the Aegean. In this article I investigate the second problem. This study, dedicated to Robert Laffineur with sincere thanks for his unfailingly generous encouragement and help, is a critique of arguments surrounding a visually perfect but problematic candidate – a cup without provenance in London – and its relationship to a collection of inlaid fragments found in the famous Cuirass Tomb at Dendra/ Midea, now in Nauplion, Greece. If the arguments presented here are correct, Aegeanists and Egyptologists will, at last, have a well-documented, physical match from the Aegean for the painted ‘Keftiu’ cup in Senmut’s tomb.

Fig. 21.1. Senmut’s ’Keftiu’ cup with bulls’ heads (after facsimile by Nina de Garis Davies, MMA 30.4.49, www.metmuseum.org)

1. Importance

  • 2 References to most of the bibliography on the ‘Keftiu’ tombs can be found in Vercoutter 1956; Wachs (...)
  • 3 Rehak (1998: 42, and pl. III) combined a modified high Aegean chronology with a low Egyptian chrono (...)

3Senmut was the first great noble in Egyptian history to order his artisans to paint Aegean-referenced people and objects in his own private tomb, thereby leaving us the first pictorial record of actual connections between Egypt and the Aegean (Kantor 1947: 74). Other nobles soon followed his example, creating a series of tomb paintings known in toto as the ‘tribute bearer’ paintings2. All are located in Western Thebes and belong primarily to the reigns of Hatshepsut, Tuthmosis III, and Amenhotep II, a period congruent with LM II/LH IIB into early LM IIIA13. All of these paintings depict fascinating processions of foreigners – Syrians, Levantines, Canaanites, Nubians, and ‘Keftiu’ – bearing exotic goods and leading strange beasts to the court of Pharaoh.

  • 4 Developing the work of Claude Vandersleyen (2003) and Jacke Phillips (2008), Matic critiqued the ev (...)

4How much actual documentary evidence is embedded in these early 18th-Dynasty tomb paintings? The merits and problems of using any of the ‘tribute-bearer’ scenes as historical evidence have been debated for over a hundred years, beginning with the question of the identities of the people. Recently, Uroš Matić (2014) convincingly argued that the Egyptian inscription ‘Keftiu’ is associated only with people who, in bodily appearance and clothing, are either Syrians or Aegeans – or a Syrian/Aegean mixture4. These ‘Keftiu’ people usually appear near or among other foreigners from many distant lands who bring their gifts and dues. Even though the inscription ‘Keftiu’ does not appear in the preserved painting in Senmut’s tomb, the dress, hair, and objects in the scene strongly evoke what we know of the historic Minoans and Mycenaeans.

  • 5 An introduction to the bibliography on these topics can be found in Crowley 1989; Matthaüs 1995; Cl (...)
  • 6 Malkata painting: New York, MMA. Rogers Fund 1911, 11.215.451.

5Any documentary evidence extracted from the ‘Keftiu’ paintings is important for our studies of interactions in the eastern Mediterranean in the Late Bronze Age. ‘Keftiu’ vessels are cited as evidence in chronological studies, as corroborating material in political and economic investigations, and as key examples in the ongoing debate over the role of Aegean art and artisans in Egypt5. As the earliest of the ‘tribute-bearer’ processions, Senmut’s painting provides an excellent starting point for investigating Aegean influence at Tell el-Dabҁa, Malkata, and Amarna. His ‘Keftiu’ cup with bulls’ heads is particularly important in providing the first pictorial evidence that the frontal bull’s head with a rosette between its horns could be associated in Egyptian minds with Aegeans. How and why this image appeared again, almost a hundred years later, in a much more important space – the ceiling of Amenhotep Ill’s personal robing room in his palace at Malkata (Fig. 21.2) – is a problem I am currently pursuing (Thomas 2016)6.

Fig. 21.2. Malkata Palace, Amenhotep III’s robing room ceiling, New York, MMA (photo author)

2. Egypt

6Over 900 private tombs have been found in the Theban necropolis, dating from the Old Kingdom onward (Hodel-Hoenes 2000: 4). The ‘tribute-bearer’ scenes occur only in the New Kingdom. They appear in at least fifteen tombs of the most powerful officials (Panagiotopoulos 2006: 377), but the ‘Keftiu’ people and/or their objects are found in only four or five of these. The five tombs most frequently cited are those of Senmut/Senenmut (TT 71), Antef/Intef (TT 155), Useramun/Amonuser (TT 131), Rekhmire (TT 100), and Menkheperresoneb (TT 86). A dizzying array of vessels is illustrated in these tombs, but the one-handled conical cup, known as the Vaphio type, is rare. It occurs twice in Senmut’s tomb, once in Useramun’s, and once in Menkheperresoneb’s (Fig. 21.3). Despite this paucity of representation, the Vaphio-type cup has been designated by scholars as the ‘Keftiu’ cup (Matthaüs 1980: 238; Laboury 1990: 95).

Fig. 21.3. ˊKeftiuˊ cups in Theban tombs (courtesy of Dagmar Kubat 2012: 230, Table 1, after Laboury 1990: pl. XXV)

7The particular combination of the Vaphio shape with the frontal bull’s head decoration is even rarer, occuring once in Senmut’s tomb (TT 71) and once in the tomb of Menkheperresoneb (TT 86). Because Menkheperresoneb’s representation is generally considered to have been copied from Senmut’s wall, I will focus only on Senmut’s cup. This image is the first Egyptian painting of a seemingly very ‘typical’ Aegean vessel, yet it represents the most difficult object to find in the real world.

2.1. Tomb of Senmut, TT 71

8Senmut’s procession scene is placed high on the wall in the transverse hall of his tomb, an area that Diamantis Panagiotopoulos (2006: 378) said was usually the “private ‘hall of memories’ of the deceased”, decorated with scenes referring to the “highlights of his career”. The procession occurs directly below the famous Hathor-head frieze and beneath a ceiling painted with textile-inspired patterns. Senmut, as Hatshepsut’s Great Steward, major architect, and ‘finance minister’, was involved with the riches (as goods) that poured in from her far-ranging ventures and were then expended in her massive building projects. His purview was broad, including more than the Aegean, as is seen in his own job description (translated by Jean Vercoutter 1956: 190): “... et le tributde tous les pays étrangers est sous ma surveillance”. Since Senmut was not a vizier, Vercoutter (1956: 190) thought it unlikely that he actually presided over such a procession but rather that he had managed the precious goods acquired from it. Vercoutter (1956: 190) suggested that Senmut may have ordered the gold and silver objects to be painted in an enlarged scale in order to emphasise this role. Indeed, the cups in the painting look as big as “suitcases” (Rehak 1998: 46). Peter Dorman (1991: 33), the modern excavator, said the sense of their great size is caused less by an enlargement of the vases themselves than by a diminution of the men who carry them, as compared to the figures of soldiers on the next wall.

9What do we see in the procession? When Robert Hay visited the tomb in the 1820s and 1830s, he could still discern six men and seven vases and a sword; his pencil and watercolor sketch, BM Add. MSS 29822, f.3, was reproduced many years later by H. R. Hall (1909-1910: pl. XIV) (Fig. 21.4).

10Around 1900 Hall visited the tomb himself, drew what he could see, and then published several articles that reproduced many of the early and current copies of the scene, including Robert Mond’s new colour photograph which Hall said was the most accurate reproduction of the original colours to date (1909-1910: 257 and Frontispiece) (Fig. 21.5). W. Max Müller (1906: 14) visited the tomb in 1904 and wrote that the wall “must have borne three or four rows representing foreign embassies doing homage to the ruler of Egypt; only the uppermost, that of the Aegeans, has been preserved in scanty remnants”; however, I have not found any other written reference to the possibility of multiple rows of figures. By the 1980s, when Dorman worked in Senmut’s tomb, the painting had degenerated greatly; Dorman’s colour photograph reveals that only three of the six men were still visible and only five of the seven vases. The sword had disappeared (Fig. 21.6).

Fig. 21.4. Senmut’s wall, Hay’s sketch ca. 1837 (courtesy of Uroš Matić 2015: 40, fig. 1, after H. R. Hall, Civilization of Greece in the Bronze Age, 1928,199)

Fig. 21.5. Senmut’s wall, Mond’s photograph early 20THcentury (after Hall: 1909-1910, Frontispiece)

Fig. 21.6. Senmut’s wall, Dorman’s photograph ca. 1990 (after Dorman 1991: pl. 21 d)

11How reliable are the images in Senmut’s procession as indicators of real vessels found in the Aegean? Do his vases already include a mixture of exotic features that will become more prevalent in the later ‘tribute bearer’ paintings, when the men and their goods seem increasingly hybrid and/or fanciful, caused by an Egyptian lack of direct observation or by deliberate changes? Dimitri Laboury (1990: 115) calculated a percentage of accuracy for the 115 representations of Aegean vases in the four main ‘Keftiu’ tombs, giving the highest rating, 71 %, to Senmut and the lowest, 36 %, to Rekhmire. On the other hand, Silke Hallmann (2006: 328) regarded Senmut’s painting as the only (extant) example that shows only Aegean people and only Aegean products; i.e. no other people or products are represented in this scene, a circumstance she said did not happen again. When H.-G. Buchholz and Vassos Karageorghis (1973: 84, 87 and fig. 34) compiled their list of metal vessels from the Aegean, they were so sure that Senmut’s painting represented actual objects that they assigned catalogue numbers to four of the painted vessels. Most recently, Dagmar Kubat (2012) sought Aegean prototypes for every item – including natural resources – depicted in the ‘Keftiu’ paintings, and she found many documented parallels for most of Senmut’s images. For example, she compared his painted spiral cup (Fig. 21.7) to a gold, Vaphio-type cup from Mycenae, Shaft Grave V (Fig. 21.8). This degree of correlation gives us good grounds for thinking that Senmut’s artisans actually saw Aegean objects.

Fig. 21.7. Senmut’s spiral cup (after facsimile by Nina de Garis davies, MMA 30.4.49, www. metmuseum. org)

Fig. 21.8. Mycenae, Shaft Grave V, gold cup with spirals (after Kubat 2012: fig. 29 with permission)

3. The matching game

12Most Egyptologists and Aegeanists agree that Senmut’s procession presents the most accurately observed – and likely the most historically useful – images from any of the tribute-bearer scenes (Kantor 1947: 44-46; Laboury 1990: 115). In this case, why have we not yet found an actual cup from a well-documented Aegean context that truly matches Senmut’s Vaphio-type cup decorated with bulls’ heads?

13The two vessels most frequently proposed as real counterparts for Senmut’s painted image are the LH II gold cups from the Vaphio Tholos in the Peloponnese (Fig. 21.9). These famous cups are, of course, the correct shape, but they are decorated with heavily embossed scenes of bulls in spacious landscape settings. To Buchholz and Karageorghis (1973: 84, 87) they presented the best “corresponding archetypes” for Senmut’s painted cup, which they had catalogued as ‘Aegean’ object no. 1102. Apparently cup shape, not technique or image, was uppermost in these authors’ minds. Other scholars have found better parallels in the inlaid silver teacup from the Dendra Tholos (Fig. 21.10) and an almost-sister cup from tomb 2 at Enkomi, Cyprus (Fig. 21.11). These two cups not only display the frontally viewed bulls’ heads of Senmut’s image, they also are inlaid with materials that create stylised polychrome patterns like those in the painting. However, the downward-curving horns of their bulls’ heads create a very different visual effect from the upright, lyre-shaped horns on Senmut’s painted animals. Furthermore, the sister cups from Dendra and Enkomi lack rosettes between the horns, and, most importantly, they are wide and shallow, like drinking bowls; they are not ‘Keftiu’ cups.

Fig. 21.9. Vaphio Tholos, gold cups (Zde 080873, commons.wikimedia.org)

Fig. 21.10. Dendra Tholos, silver cup (after Xénaki-Sakellariou 1989: pl. XI, 1)

Fig. 21.11. Enkomi, silver cup (after Xénaki-Sakellariou 1989: pl. X, 3)

14In this article I investigate another vessel that provides an almost perfect match for Senmut’s ‘Keftiu’ cup – in vase shape, inlay technique, and in iconography – but this object is rarely mentioned and never on a par with the Vaphio, Dendra, and Enkomi vessels just cited. This inlaid cup has no established provenance, it was sold on the antiquities market by an unknown dealer, and its present owner and whereabouts are unverifiable. This is the London cup.

4. Robbers, dealers, and the elusive ‘Keftiu’ cup

4.1. The London cup

15The background of this vessel is difficult to trace. As early as 1967, Reynold Higgins of the British Museum knew that “part of a bronze Vaphio-type cup inlaid in silver with bulls’ heads and double-axes [had] appeared on the market” (1967: 150). Higgins cited this vessel in his new book on Minoan and Mycenaean art, where he said it was described “as having been found in Crete” and he added “if this attribution is correct”, it would vouch for the accuracy of the Keftiu painters in Senmut’s tomb ((1967: 150) (italics mine). Apparently Higgins believed the cup was a genuine Bronze Age Aegean artifact but was less sure about the Cretan provenance given by the dealer.

  • 7 Åström did not explain how he had learned about the cup, but it must have been through Higgins beca (...)

16At some point Higgins acquired two photographs of the cup and sent copies to Paul Åström, codirector of the Greek-Swedish team excavating at Dendra/Midea in the Argolid, and also to Ellen N. Davis, an American art historian just completing her dissertation at New York University on Aegean gold and silver ware. These are the only photographs of the cup in its unrestored state that we have (Figs 21.12, 21.13). Åström published his photographs in a 1972 article in a popular Paris magazine in which he implied that the cup, then on the “marché des Antiquités”, had been stolen in 1960 from chamber tomb 12 at Dendra; Åström said he was herewith publishing the cup “pour la premiere fois” (1972: 50-51)7.

Fig. 21.12. London cup, unrestored (after Åström 1972: 51 above)

Fig. 21.13. London cup, unrestored (after Åström 1972: 51 below)

17Davis included the two images in her 1973 dissertation, where she said the cup was in a “Private Collection” in London. She thanked Higgins for the photographs and for making the cup available to her for examination. By the time she published her revised dissertation in 1977, she had certainly seen the restored version of the cup, which she illustrated with her own photograph (Fig. 21.14).

Fig. 21.14. London cup, restored (after Davis 1977: fig. 96)

18Davis is the only person who we know examined the cup and then published detailed descriptions of it (1973: 113-116; 1976: 3-4; 1977: 118-122). What did she say in these three publications and what can we see in the three photographs? She described the vessel, her catalogue no. 24, as an inlaid, Vaphio-type cup, made of copper or bronze, that had lost its handle and extensive portions of its rim and wall. The photograph of the unrestored cup makes clear just how extensive this loss was (Fig. 21.12). Davis measured the cup which she said was 7.1 cm high and 11.4 cm in diameter, making it only a little smaller than the famous gold Vaphio cups. She said a band of gold was inlaid parallel to and just below the rim, and that cuttings indicated a thinner band had been inlaid ca. 0.3 cm below that; she did not specify the metal or width the lower band might have been. In the photograph of the unrestored version, we can see traces of a horizontal band near the broken upper edge of the cup (Fig. 21.12). The body was decorated, she said, with gold, silver, and electrum cut-outs that were cold-hammered into beds cut in the cup’s wall. In the restored photograph (Fig. 21.14), we can follow her description: six silver frontal bulls’ heads that have upright lyre-shaped horns with silver rosettes between the horns; the bulls’ heads alternate with six gold, inverted double axes that have gold rosettes above them. The silver rosettes between the bulls’ horns were larger than the gold rosettes over the axes. The bottom of the cup displayed a large radiant rosette inlaid in silver.

19Davis also (1977: 114) made a statement that was to have future reverberations: “Traces of an additional plate adhering at the rim indicate that the cup had a separate inner lining folded over the rim...”. The separate inner lining, she said, was “copper” (1977: 347). Her reporting of a copper lining, and traces of two horizontal bands inlaid parallel to the rim, formed the basis of Xénaki-Sakellariou’s 1989 investigation that could provide an excellent provenance for the London cup.

20Davis, unlike Higgins, accepted without question the dealer’s statement that the London cup came ‘from Crete’. On the other hand, when Peter Warren (1980: 104-106) reviewed her 1977 book, he wrote about her inclusion of this vessel:

... the London cup with precious metal inlays and its resemblance to [fragments] dropped by robbers of Dendra tomb 12 emphasizes all the uncertainties and loss of knowledge inherent in the vile and secret acquisitions of objects of major importance, if it is genuine (italics mine).

21Now we understand why scholars have so rarely cited this cup in serious discussions: it bore the stigma of being either stolen or faked.

4.2. Dendra Chamber Tomb 12 and the Nauplion fragments

22On the night of 5/6 January, 1960, looters broke into and partially robbed an unexcavated chamber tomb at Dendra/Midea. Police halted the looting, and four months later a Greek-Swedish team, directed by Paul Aström and Nicolas Verdelis, conducted a one-week excavation of what became famous as the Cuirass Tomb (Fig. 21.15).

Fig. 21.15. Åström and Verdelis at Dendra, chamber tomb 12 (after Åström 1972: 47)

  • 8 The excavators also found sherds of a pottery vase divided this way (Åström 1977: 7, 12-13, cat. no (...)

23In the “looters’ heap of earth” outside the tomb, the excavators found piece (s) of inlaid silver representing “one or several” vessels (Åström 1977: 16). Åström (1977: 7) also wrote, referring to these fragments: “The northern half of the chamber was first cleared. In the earth which was disturbed by the plunderers we found remains of metal vases”. In my view, it is entirely possible that fragments from the same vessel were found in both of these locations8. The eight or nine pieces of inlaid silver were so fragmentary that a reconstruction would be very problematic.

24The plundering and excavation of Dendra chamber tomb 12 was reported in the archaeological notices for 1960 and 1961, but the spectacular bronze suit of armour and pieces of a boar’s tusk helmet in the tomb overwhelmed everything else associated with the grave. Scant mention was made of the inlaid fragments. Georges Daux (1961: 673) did cite an “anse de bronze d’une coupe du type de Vaphio, incrustée d’or”, and Sinclair Hood (1960-1961: 9) reported, “From the part of the tomb wrecked by the plunderers came a bronze cup-handle of the Vaphio type with inlaid gold bands”. All of the cup fragments were deposited in the Nauplion Museum, unnumbered and not on display.

25Seven years after the excavation, Verdelis (1967) published the metal finds in an article that was later translated into English and included in toto in Åström’s 1977 publication of the entire tomb. I will refer to the page numbers and illustrations in this later version. Verdelis grouped the inlaid pieces together as his catalogue no. 11, ‘Fragments of a Silver Cu’. He published a photograph of the fragments (Fig. 21.16), a separate drawing of the upper handle piece, and a suggested reconstruction of the whole cup (Fig. 21.17). He divided the collection into six subgroups according to their likely placement on a vessel. The upper handle piece retained the most complete figural display: a frontal bull’s head with lyre-shaped horns, a rosette between the horns, and the blades of a double axe behind the muzzle. In a footnote Verdelis referred readers to Senmut’s tomb for another instance of a Vaphio-type cup decorated with bulls’ heads and rosettes (in Åström 1977: 54-55 and n. 192). On other fragments he found partial remains of inlaid rosettes, an inlaid inverted double axe, cuttings for lost inlays, and rim pieces with remnants of precious metal strips – a wide band and a narrow wire – that had been inlaid parallel to and just below the rim.

Fig. 21.16. Nauplion fragments (after Verdelis in Åström 1977: pl. IX, 1-2)

Fig. 21.17. Nauplion fragments, Verdelis’ reconstruction (after Verdelis in Åström 1977: pl. IX, 3)

26Most interestingly, Verdelis questioned whether all the fragments came from one cup. He said piece 6, which he identified as a rim fragment, lacked the narrow groove for the inlaid wire (the second horizontal strip) seen on the other rim fragments, and he felt the colour of its rosette was out of character with the other inlaid rosettes. We can see piece 6 in the top row, second from left, of his photograph (Fig. 21.16) and in the top centre of his reconstruction drawing (Fig. 21.17). This fragment will play a key role in our investigation.

  • 9 See Driessen, this volume, for a discussion of links between looters and the antiquities market.
  • 10 Xénaki-Sakellariou (1987: 32-33, n. 15, pl. 3b) supported this claim, with photographs of the sword (...)

27After the excavation was completed, Aström began tracking objects that he believed had been stolen from the tomb on the night of 5/6 January 1960 (Åström 1972: 50; 1977: 7, 11, 16-18)9. He was convinced that two magnificent bronze swords that had been auctioned in Switzerland as from the Argolid, and purchased by the National Museum in Copenhagen, were from the Cuirass Tomb. He went to the museum where he astonished the curator by producing the exact rivets that were missing from the swords, rivets he had brought with him from chamber tomb 1210. He also investigated a copper jug or hydria that had been acquired by the British Museum three years after the looting (BM 1963. 7-5. I). Using measurements sent to him by Reynold Higgins, Aström reasoned that the jug could possibly have been lifted from a circular indentation left in the chamber tomb’s floor; for this jug, see Higgins 1964.

  • 11 Åström (1977: 16) cited Higgins’ letter but gave no date for it. For the noted (and notorious) deal (...)

28Aström also learned from Higgins that in 1963, not long after the robbery of the Cuirass Tomb, a dealer in antiquities, ‘Borovsky’, had offered a cup for sale as having come ‘from Crete’11. Åström believed that this cup had been stolen from the Dendra tomb, and, as discussed above, he ’published’ it in the Paris journal in 1972, using the two photographs Higgins had sent (Figs 21.12, 21.13). Åström subsequently learned that the vessel was in London, and he wrote, “It would seem that the portions of the cup from Dendra which are preserved (rim, handle, part of wall) are missing from the cup in London. The inlays are the same: bucrania, double axes and rosettes” (1977: 16). He knew that Ellen Davis had found evidence for a three-layered wall among the fragments in the Nauplion Museum. With this information in mind, Aström suggested that perhaps the London cup also had a triple-layered wall, since Davis had described traces of an inner lining folded over the London cup’s rim (Åström 1977: 16). To sum up, both Verdelis and Aström contributed ideas that had future impact: Verdelis found it difficult to reconcile all the Nauplion fragments into one vessel, and Aström suggested very close relationships between the Nauplion fragments and the London cup.

29What had Ellen Davis herself said about the Nauplion fragments? When she included them in her 1973 dissertation, she had not yet seen them in person, so she based her comments on Verdelis’ information. She accepted his idea that piece 6 did not belong with the others, so she created catalogue numbers for two different cups, nos 109 and 110, with piece 6 as the only fragment belonging to no. 110 (1973: 237-240). She said three factors indicated that piece 6 “comes from a second cup”: the larger scale of its rosette, the silvery colour of this large rosette, and the lack of a second border near the rim (1973: 239-240). However, after she went to Nauplion and examined the pieces herself, she decided that piece 6 after all did belong with the rest, on one vessel, no. 109. Thereafter, Davis described the Nauplion fragments as from one cup (1976: 3-4; 1977: 263-266). She did not explain why she was no longer disturbed by the three odd features that differentiated piece 6. The only reason she gave for grouping all the fragments together was her recognition of “copper elements and multiple inlays” (1977: 264, n. 590).

30Davis’ most significant finding in the Nauplion fragments was a three-layered wall, which she said indicated the following procedure of manufacture: first a silver cup was formed; then a slightly thinner cup of copper was inserted into it; finally a third cup of even thinner silver was fitted into the others and folded forward over the upper rim to hide the copper. She illustrated this proposed construction in her diagram (Fig. 21.18). This is the finding that led Aström to suggest that “original metal linings may be missing from the London cup (italics mine)” (1977: 16). Neither Aström nor Davis commented on the fact that the only three-layered piece among the Nauplion fragments was piece 6, which Verdelis (1967: 53) and Davis herself (1973: 239-240) had earlier thought belonged somewhere else. No one apparently found it imprudent to assume that the entire Nauplion cup had been constructed with a three-layered wall.

Fig. 21.18. Diagram of triple-layered wall construction (after Davis 1977: fig. 213)

31Two-layered walls were normal in Minoan cups with the Vaphio shape (Davis 1977: 47, n. 111), but a triple-layered wall was unique among all the vessels in her catalogue. Furthermore, the only vessels, of any shape, that she said had copper linings were the London cup and the Nauplion cup (1977: 347-348). After personally inspecting the fragments, Davis drew a new reconstruction sketch for the Nauplion cup (Fig. 21.19). If we compare this sketch with the earlier one done by Verdelis (Fig. 21.17), and with the photograph of the restored London cup (Fig. 21.14), we see that Davis based her Nauplion reconstruction almost entirely on the appearance of the restored London cup. Like Åström, she believed the two vessels were enormously alike; unlike Åström, she did not imply that they shared pieces. Davis was the only person who saw both the London cup and the Nauplion fragments, and she stated that they matched the painted vessel on Senmut’s wall; in a footnote she cited them as “actual examples” of Senmut’s ‘Keftiu’ cup (1977: 50, n. 177).

Fig. 21.19. Nauplion fragments, Davis’new reconstruction (after Davis 1977: fig. 211)

  • 12 Robert Koehl, Ellen Davis’ close associate, sent her last papers to the archive at the University o (...)
  • 13 I asked Andrew Shapland at the British Museum about any papers Higgins may have left. Shapland (per (...)

32After the 1977 publication of her revised dissertation, Davis never, to my knowledge, mentioned the London cup again12. Its current location cannot be ascertained. The two scholars who saw it and vouched for its authenticity, Davis and Higgins, are both deceased13. The trail has gone cold.

33Robert Laffineur included the London cup in his 1974 and 1977 catalogues of Aegean metal objects. In the 1974 study of inlaid weapons and vases (14, no. 22), he listed the cup as “Provenance présumée: Dendra”. In a footnote (1974: 25, n. 83) Laffineur stated his views on the striking similarities between this newly announced cup, which lacked provenance or date, and Senmut’s painted vessel: “Les similitudes sont si grandes entre l’objet reel et la representation peinte...” that, he suggested, one could probably date the actual cup from its painted counterpart, i.e. to the reign of Hatshepsut. In his 1977 catalogue of Mycenaean precious-metal vases, Laffineur placed the London cup with the Nauplion fragments as both having come from chamber tomb 12 at Dendra (116, nos 93, 94, and n. 7). His rationale for including the unprovenanced London vessel with the well-documented Nauplion fragments was their striking similarity and also the force of Åström’s (1972: 47-50) arguments that the cup was likely pillaged from the Cuirass Tomb. Most importantly from our point of view, Laffineur (1977: 62) prominently stated that both of these inlaid vessels “soit l’equivalent” in motif and technique of the painted cup in Senmut’s tomb.

  • 14 See, for example, Matthäus 1980: 248-249; Laffineur 1985: 264, n. 127; Crouwel & Niemeier 1989: 10; (...)

34In the years since 1977, how have the cups fared in the literature? Both have received sporadic attention, mainly from Aegeanists, rarely from Egyptologists14, but sorrowfully these vessels, one lost without pedigree, the other broken to pieces, have never really emerged from the shadows.

5. Connecting the pieces

35In 1989 the distinguished scholar, A. Xénaki-Sakellariou, collaborating with conservator Christos Chatziliou, published a small but massively important book for all students of inlaid weapons and metal vases from the Bronze Age Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean: “Peinture en metal” à l’époque mycénienne: Incrustation, damasquinage, niellure. This book, now long out of print, is packed with information and is wonderfully illustrated with, wherever possible, new colour photographs of each object. In straight-forward language, Xénaki-Sakellariou discussed the techniques, origin, and evolution of five kinds of inlay; then, with eagle eye, she described each of the twenty-nine catalogue entries, retaining the numbers that Laffineur had used in his 1974 catalogue. The Nauplion and London vessels are grouped together as no. 22 a, b.

  • 15 I wish we knew precisely which piece (s) were found outside the tomb (supra n. 8).

36Xénaki-Sakellariou personally examined the inlaid fragments in the Nauplion Museum; she also familiarised herself as much as possible with the London cup, which she acknowledged she had not seen. Then she made the statement that could bring the unprovenanced cup out of the doldrums: fragment no. 8 in Nauplion was part of the London cup (1989: 30-32 and n. 39). We know that the London cup’s only parentage had been ‘robbers and dealers’, but if Xénaki-Sakellariou is correct – that a piece of its wall was left behind during the robbery – then the cup will be documented as one of the burial gifts interred with the rich warrior in Dendra’s Cuirass Tomb. To understand this scenario, we must envision the looters in the process of grabbing at least two inlaid Vaphio-type cups from chamber tomb 12 when the police arrived. The looters escaped with the largest part of the London cup, leaving one of its pieces, and broken fragments of the other cup, in the dirt15.

37Xénaki-Sakellariou (1989: 30-32 and n. 39) grounded her argument about piece 8 on two concepts: (1) the relationship of construction to materials on both cups, and (2) the relationships of placement, size, and colour of the shapes on the cups’ walls. She rearranged the Nauplia fragments for three new photographs. To help us visualise her arguments, I have added red outlines to these photographs where there are inlaid rosettes or cuttings for horn tips (Fig. 21.20). Piece 3 (a wall fragment) is shown separately at the top right. Piece 8 (which she called a wall fragment) is separate at the bottom right. The remaining fragments are grouped together in the large photograph, with the pieces identified as follows. In the top row, left to right, are pieces 1 and 2 (both from the handle), piece 4 (wall), and an unnumbered sliver. The bottom row, left to right, has pieces 5, 6, 7 (all rim fragments). Note that Xénaki-Sakellariou gave each rim piece a separate number, which expanded Verdelis’ total from six numbers to eight. His last item, 6, became her number 8.

Fig. 21.20. Nauplion, all fragments (modified by author after Xénaki-Sakellariou 1989: pl. XIII, 1,2,3)

38The key fragment is piece 8 (Fig. 21.21; also lower right in Fig. 21.20). Xénaki-Sakellariou said it was part of a wall, not a rim. Its entire upper edge was recessed and, she said, probably had held a band of precious metal, possibly kept in place by tiny rivets. A faint circular impression in the recessed area perhaps indicates one of these rivets. Below the recession we can see half of a rosette inlaid in silver and, to its left, an empty cutting in the shape of a horn tip.

Fig. 21.21. Piece 8, Nauplion Museum (After Xénaki-Sakellariou 1989: pl. XIII, 3)

  • 16 Xénaki-Sakellariou (1989: 5) thanked the chemists of the Archaeological Service for their contribut (...)

39In order to show that piece 8 belonged on the London cup, Xénaki-Sakellariou first had to demonstrate that it did not fit with the Nauplion group. She began with a discussion of construction and material. Her arguments were based on the types of information one can gain from macroscopic and chemical study, which were employed in her 1989 book, though not on the Nauplion fragments as far as I can tell16.

  • 17 Piece 3, a wall fragment, had a small reinforcing layer of silver inserted between the rivet head a (...)

40Xénaki-Sakellariou argued against Davis on every point of construction and material in the Nauplion fragments. Davis had said that the entire wall of the Nauplion cup was composed of three layers (1976: 3; 1977: 264-266). It is clear, however, from Xénaki-Sakellariou’s careful descriptions that piece 8 was the only three-layered fragment in the collection17. Davis had described the material of the three-layers as silver/copper/silver. However, Xénaki-Sakellariou stated that the materials on piece 8 were silver/ bronze/silver with no copper involved (1989: 31-32 and n. 39). Xénaki-Sakellariou found no copper on any Nauplion fragment, and, indeed, Davis had written, “The copper elements [in the Nauplion pieces] are mostly decomposed” (1977: 263). Xénaki-Sakellariou found bronze only on piece 8. Thus, piece 8 is the only fragment with three-layers, and it is the only fragment containing bronze. In sum, Xénaki-Sakellariou demonstrated that in construction (three-layered wall) and materials (silver/bronze/silver), piece 8 had come from a different vessel; it did not belong with the other fragments in the Nauplion Museum.

41Turning to the London cup, Xénaki-Sakellariou (1989: 32 and n. 39) argued point by point that this vessel did match the construction and materials of piece 8. Davis (1977: 118) thought the London cup had two layers, indicated by the traces of an inner lining folded over the cup’s rim. Xénaki-Sakellariou, however, contended that the London cup originally had three layers. Davis (1977: 118, n. 331) had said that the material of the London cup was either bronze or copper, and she had added: “Copper is assumed here, merely because it would be easier to inlay”. Xénaki-Sakellariou, on the other hand, said the main material in the structure of the London cup was silver: the body had been composed of two layers of silver encasing a third layer of bronze. What evidence did she have for these statements?

42Using her familiarity with science, Xénaki-Sakellariou (1989: 32 and n. 39) reasoned that Davis most likely thought she saw copper on the London cup because of the residue of a chemical reaction. Xénaki-Sakellariou (1989: 32 and n. 39) explained that when silver and bronze are layered together, a coppery appearance can result through chemical reaction: “très souvent l’oxydation du bronze, sur les objets en argent, forme une surface unie qui prete a confusion”. Xénaki-Sakellariou argued that Davis had been misled by the coppery look of this unified silver-bronze surface of the surviving outer wall, and that, conversely, when Davis had thought the cup was bronze, she was likely seeing a part of the actual bronze middle layer that remained on the cup’s body, as it did in piece 8 (1989: 32 and n. 39). Thus, using an interlocking argument about structure and materials, Xénaki-Sakellariou contended that the London cup originally had three layers, composed of silver/bronze/silver, just like piece 8. I do not find anything in the published descriptions that would contradict her conclusions, but ultimately, of course, the question of material must be resolved by chemical analysis in a laboratory which to my knowledge has not been done on any of the objects. To me, the most telling evidence in favour of Xénaki-Sakellariou’s argument is that no one, not even Davis, ever specifically named another Nauplion wall fragment as constructed completely of three layers.

  • 18 Verdelis (in Åström 1977: 55) gave dimensions: gold band 3 mm wide, and wire 0.05 mm thick.
  • 19 Compare these dimensions to those for piece I, the upper handle, which is 3.3 x 2.7 cm wide, and fo (...)

43Xénaki-Sakellariou’s second concept involved the relationships of placement, size and colour of the shapes on the walls. She began with the shape and size of the recessed edge at the top of piece 8 (Fig. 21.21). Verdelis had shown in his drawing (Fig. 21.17), and Davis agreed (1973: 240), that this fragment belonged near the rim of a cup where its recessed edge would hold the first horizontal band of gold. However, Verdelis and Davis had been unhappy with this idea because piece 8 lacked the groove for a second inlaid strip that was evident on the other rim fragments in Nauplion. Indeed, rim pieces 5, 6, 7 all have traces of both a wider band and a narrower wire running horizontally below the cup’s rim18. Xenaki-Sakellariou’s insight was to propose that the recession on piece 8 was designed for the second band -on the London cup! Davis (1977: 118) had written about the London cup: “cuttings indicate that a second thinner strip was inlaid ca. 0.3 cm beneath [the gold upper band]”. She had not specified the width of the lost second band, and it is not detectable in the photographs (Figs 21.12 and 21.14). Xenaki-Sakellariou (1989: 31) gave dimensions for piece 8 (3 x 2.8 cm) but not for its recessed section19. Thus we are not able to verify whether piece 8 has the proper dimensions to mesh with the lower strip on the London cup. Xénaki-Sakellariou (1989: 32 and n. 39) concluded her arguments with a discussion of the size, colour, and placement of the rosette and horn tip on piece 8. She said the larger size of its rosette, coupled with its “argent-électrum” colour, matched the size and colour of the rosettes between the bulls’ horns on the London cup. She had already shown that the recessed edge on piece 8 was too wide to be part of the lower (wire) band on the Nauplion cup. Next, through a process of deduction, she concluded that this recession could not be the upper band on either cup, because immediately below it are a rosette and horn tip. The combined placement of recessed band, rosette, and horn tip indicated that piece 8 occupied a lower place on the wall, into the frieze level of bull’s horns. Compare the London cup (Fig. 21.12) and the red-outlined rosettes and horn tips on piece 8 (Fig. 21.20 lower right). Only the London cup can fit the combined parameters of placement, size, and colour of the shapes on piece 8.

44If we accept Xénaki-Sakellariou’s arguments in their entirety, we could say that Davis was correct the first time when she had written in her dissertation about piece 8 (1973: 239-240): “The larger scale of the rosette, which is electrum... and the lack of the second narrow border at the rim indicate that the fragment comes from a second cup”. In Xénaki-Sakellariou’s revised scenario, Davis’ diagram of a three-layered construction would actually apply to the wall of the London cup (Fig. 21.18).

  • 20 Davis (1977: 348-349) mentioned small rivets in the construction of some Aegean metal vases, but sh (...)
  • 21 No author included a scale in the photographs, but Davis (1973: 239, n. 594) advised that the fragm (...)

45Are there other factors that might strengthen or weaken Xénaki-Sakellariou’s contentions? I wonder about the faint circular impression in the recessed edge of piece 8, apparently left by the tiny lost rivet (Fig. 21.21). Do the three Nauplion rim pieces show echoes of such rivets? Does the rim of the London cup, which retained some of its original gold band (Davis 1973: 114), have such rivets20? We would also be helped with accurate measurements of the two cups. Davis (1977: 118, 263) was the only person to publish her estimate of the original height of both cups: London (ca. 7.1 cm) and Nauplion (ca. 7.5 cm)21. Xénaki-Sakellariou (1989: 32 and n. 39) believed “sans doute” that Aström had been proven correct in thinking that the London cup had been pillaged from chamber tomb 12 at Dendra. His contention, she said, “est prouvée par le fragment de Nauplie no. 22a (8)”.

46Almost three decades have elapsed since Xénaki-Sakellariou went to Nauplion and examined the fragments. What has happened to them since? I am extremely grateful to Evangelia Pappi of the Argolid Ephorate for sending me the following up-to-date and very cheering information (pers. comm. 16/02/2016):

The museum number of the Dendra cup is MN 32733.
The reconstruction was made by the conservator of the Ephorate, Penelope Taratori, following the reconstruction published by Verdelis in 1967.
It’s been on display since the reopening of the Nafplion Museum.
All fragments are on the cup.

47In this new configuration, the Nauplion fragments have joined the rest of the historic finds from the Cuirass Tomb and are now on view to all visitors. Dimitri Laboury saw the exhibit in 2015 and kindly sent me his photograph; the cup is in the lower right comer of the case (Fig. 21.22).

Fig. 21.22. Nauplion Archaeological Museum, Cuirass Tomb, 2015 (courtesy of Dimitri Laboury)

  • 22 Schuppi – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia: Silver cup from chamber tomb 12 of D (...)

48Wikimedia Commons has a beautiful image of the cup which allows us to see in close-up detail the double axe, the rim fragments, and the inlaid handle, all attached to a matrix. Piece 8 is placed at the upper left. We see its silvery rosette, a trace of horn rim, and a long golden band from a nearby fragment, lying along its recessed edge (Figs 21.23, 21.24, 21.25)22.

Fig. 21.23. Nauplion Archaeological Museum, Cuirass Tomb, restored inlaid cup (see n. 22)

Fig. 21.24. Nauplion Archaeological Museum, Cuirass Tomb, restored inlaid cup (see n. 22)

Fig. 21.25. Nauplion Archaeological Museum, Cuirass Tomb, restored inlaid cup (see n. 22)

Conclusions

49Scholars of the LBA Eastern Mediterranean have for years sought an actual counterpart for the very Aegean-looking vessel painted in the tomb of Senmut (TT 71) in Western Thebes, Egypt. This ‘Keftiu’ cup combined a quintessentially Aegean shape, the Vaphio cup, with a frontally viewed bulls’ head motif. No comparable painting has been found in the Aegean or Near East, nor has a real cup from a well-documented context ever been found to match it.

50In this article I have assembled and critiqued the published information about a real cup that is an almost perfect counterpart of the painted version, but which continues to be ignored because of the lacunae, and suspicions, surrounding it. If the compelling arguments presented by A. Xénaki-Sakellariou in 1989 are correct, this unprovenanced and undated cup, currently in a private collection in London, was originally part of the rich grave goods in chamber tomb 12 at Dendra, the Cuirass Tomb. The evidence that could confirm or deny this claim is a single fragment from a broken inlaid vessel that, today, is mounted with other fragments from the Cuirass Tomb, on a cup in the Nauplion Archaeological Museum in Greece. In this situation, the fragment cannot be tested to see if it originally belonged on the cup in London.

51What needs to be done? Ideally, the owners of the cup in London will come forth and allow their beautiful vessel to be studied by experts again. They already gave Reynold Higgins and Ellen Davis the opportunity to see it; I urge them to make their cup available again and to put their studies and photographs online. I hope the Nauplion Archaeological Museum will similarly make its documents, studies, and photographs available online. In this way Aegeanists and Egyptologists, as well as conservators and archaeometallugists, can begin evaluating the various ideas associated with both these vessels.

52We need to know whether we have found an Aegean match for Senmut’s painting. The answer is part of a larger question: Was Senmut’s image the first Egyptian representation of a real cup made in the Aegean, or was it an imaginary vessel created in the mind of a Egyptian artisan who blended a known Aegean shape with a Mediterranean-wide icon of power, in order to display the great scope of his master’s service to Hatshepsut?

53Let us work on the real objects, and hopefully we can generate better answers for the puzzles of Aegean and Egyptian relations with the wider world. Until this happens, Senmut’s painted image remains the elusive ‘Keftiu’ cup.

Bibliographie

References

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▪ Åström 1977 = P. Åström, The Cuirass Tomb and Other Finds at Dendra. Part I: The Chamber Tombs, Göteborg (1977).

▪ Buchholz & Karageorghis 1973 = H.-G. Buchholz & V. Karageorghis, Prehistoric Greece and Cyprus. An Archaeological Handbook, New York (1973).

▪ Cline & Harris-Cline 1998 = E. Cline & D. Harris-Cline (eds), The Aegean and the Orient in the Second Millennium: Proceedings of the 50th Anniversary Symposium, Cincinnati, 18-20 April 1997, (Aegaeum 18), Liège (1998).

▪ Crouwel, J. & W.-D. Niemeier, Eine knossische Palaststilscherbe mil Bukranion-Darstellung aus Mykene, AA (1989), 5-10.

▪ Crowley 1989 = J. Crowley, The Aegean and the East. An Investigation into the Transference of Artistic Motifs between the Aegean, Egypt, and the Near East in the Bronze Age, Göteborg (1989).

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▪ Davis 1973 = E. Davis, The Vapheio Cups and Aegean Gold and Silver Ware, unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, New York University (1973).

▪ Davis 1976 = E. Davis, Metal inlaying in Minoan and Mycenaean art, TUAS I (1976), 3-6.

▪ Davis 1977 = E. Davis, The Vapheio Cups and Aegean Gold and Silver Ware, New York (1977).

▪ Dorman 1991 = P. Dorman, The Tombs of Senenmut. The Architecture and Decoration of Tombs 71 and 353, New York (1991).

▪ Feldman 2006 = M. Feldman, Diplomacy by Design. Luxury Arts and an ‘International Style’ in the Ancient Near East, 1400-1200 BCE, Chicago (2006).

▪ Hall 1909-1910 = H. Hall, An addition to the Senmut-fresco, BSA 16 (1909-1910), 254-257 and Frontispiece and pl. XIV.

▪ Hallmann 2006 = S. Hallmann, Die Tributszenen des Neuen Reiches, Wiesbaden (2006).

▪ Higgins 1964 = R. Higgins, A copper pitcher, BMQ 28: 1/2 (1964), 18-19.

▪ Higgins 1967 = R. Higgins, Minoan and Mycenaean Art, London (1967).

▪ Hodel-Hoenes 2000 = S. Hodel-Hoenes, Life and Death in Ancient Egypt. Scenes from Private Tombs in New Kingdom Thebes, Ithaca, NY (2000).

▪ Hood 1960-1961 = M. S. F. Hood, Archaeology in Greece 1960-61, AR 7 (1960-1961), 3-35.

▪ Kantor 1947 = H. Kantor, The Aegean and the Orient in the Second Millennium BC, Bloomington, IN (1947).

▪ Kubat 2012 = D. Kubat, Die Gaben frühügüischer Gesandter in ägyptischen Grabmalereien und ihre Entsprechungen in der Agäis, MA Thesis, directed by Fritz Blakolmer, University of Vienna (2012). http:// othes.univie.ac.at/17953/1/2012-01-18 8150514.pdf

▪ Laboury 1990 = D. Laboury, Reflexions sur les vases métalliques des tributaires Keftiou, Aegaeum 6, (1990), 93-115, pls XV-XXVIII.

▪ Laffineur 1974 = R. Laffineur, L’incrustation à l’époque mycénienne, L’Antiquité classique 43 (1974), 5-37.

▪ Laffineur 1977 = R. Laffineur, Les vases en métal précieux a l’époque mycénienne, (SIMA-PB 4), Göteborg (1977).

▪ Laffineur 1985 = R. Laffineur, Iconographie minoenne et iconographie mycénienne a l’époque des tombes a fosse, in L’Iconographie Minoenne, Actes de la Table Ronde d’Athenes (21-22 avril, 1983), edited by P. Darcque & J.-C. Poursat (BCH Suppl. XI) Athens (1985), 245-266.

▪ Matić 2014 = U. Matić, ‘Minoans’, Kftjw and the ‘Islands in the middle of w3d wr’ beyond ethnicity, Agypten und Levante 24 (2014), 277-294.

▪ Matić 2015 = U. Matić, Aegean emissaries in the tomb of Senenmut and their gift to the Egyptian king, Journal of Ancient Egyptian Interconnections 7: 4 (2015), 38-52.

▪ Matthäus 1980 = H. Matthäus, Die Bronzegefässe der kretisch-mykenischen Kultur, Munich (1980).

▪ Matthäus 1995 = H. Matthäus, Representations of Keftiu in Egyptian tombs and the absolute chronology of the Aegean late bronze age, BICS 40 (n.s. vol. 2) (1995), 177-194.

▪ Müller 1906 = W. M. Müller, Egyptological Researches. Results of a Journey in 1904, Washington, DC (1906) https://archive.org/details/egyptologicalre02mlgoogg

▪ Panagiotopoulos 2006 = D. Panagiotopoulos, Foreigners in Egypt in the time of Hatshepsut and Thutmose Ill, in Thutmose III: a New Biography, edited by E. Cline & D. O’Connor, Ann Arbor, MI (2006), 370-412.

▪ Phillips 2008 = J. Phillips, Review of Y. Duhoux, Des Minoens en Égypte? ‘Keftiou; et ‘des îles au milieu du Grand Vert’, BibO LXV (2008), 111-114.

▪ Rehak 1998 = P. Rehak, Aegean natives in the Theban tomb paintings: the Keftiu revisited, in The Aegean and the Orient in the Second Millennium: Proceedings of the 50th Anniversary Symposium, Cincinnati, 18-20 April 1997, edited by E. Cline & D. Harris-Cline (Aegaeum 18), Liège (1998), 39-52.

▪ Sakellarakis & Sakellarakis 1984 = E. & Y. Sakellarakis, The Keftiu and the Minoan thalassocracy, in The Minoan Thalassocracy. Myth and Reality. Proceedings of the Third International Symposium at the Swedish Institute in Athens, 31 May – 5 June, 1982, edited by R. Hägg & N. Marinatos, Stockholm (1984), 198-203.

▪ Thomas 2016 = N. Thomas, ‘Hair Stars’ and ‘Sun Disks’ on bulls and lions. A reality check on movements of Aegean symbolic motifs to Egypt, with special reference to the palace at Malkata, in Metaphysis. Ritual, Myth and Symbolism in the Aegean Bronze Age. 15th International Aegean Conference, Vienna, 22-25 April 2014, edited by E. Alram-Stern, F. Blakolmer, S. Deger-Jalkotzy, R. Laffineur & J. Weilhartner (Aegaeum 39), Leuven (2016) 129-137, pls XLIX-L.

▪ Vandersleyen 2003 = C. Vandersleyen, Keftiu: a cautionary note, OJA 22: 2 (2003), 209-212 [this is an English translation ofC. Vandersleyen, Keftiou = Crète? Objections préliminaries, GM 188 (2002), 109-112].

▪ Vercoutter 1956 = J. Vercoutter, L’Égypte et le monde égéen préhellénique, Cairo (1956).

▪ Verdelis 1967 = N. Verdelis, Neue funde von Dendra, AM 82 (1967), 1-53, esp. 52-53, pls 30, 1-2; 31, 1. [translated into English and included in Åstrom 1977: 28-65 and esp. pls IX, X.].

▪ Wachsmann 1987 = S. Wachsmann, Aegeans in the Theban Tombs, Leuven (1987).

▪ Warren 1980 = P. Warren, review of E. Davis, The Vapheio Cups and Aegean Gold and Silver Ware (1977), CR 30 (1980), 104-106.

▪ Xénaki-Sakellariou 1987 = A. Xénaki-Sakellariou, I chrysokentisi sti mykinaiki epochi [Embroidery in gold in the Mycenaean era], Archaiognosia 3, 1-2 (1982-1984; published in 1987), 29-39 and 3 plates; in Greek, with French summary p. 39.

▪ Xénaki-Sakellariou 1989=A. Xénaki-Sakellariou & C. Chatziliou, “Peintureen métal” à l’époque mycénienne: Incrustation, damasquinage, niellure, Athens (1989).

Notes

1 I gratefully acknowledge the help of the following people: Michael Braunlin, Fritz Blakolmer, Anne Chapin, Ioanna Damanaki, Oliver Dickinson, Jan Driessen, Karen Foster, Yannis Galanakis, David Gill, Robert Koehl, Dagmar Kubat, Dimitri Laboury, Anna Lemos, Uroš Matić, Evangelia Pappi, Stefanie Schmidt, Andrew Shapland, and Roger Thomas. I am particularly grateful to Dagmar Kubat, Dimitri Laboury and Uroš Matić for allowing me to reprint their images, and to Evangelia Pappi at the Argolid Ephorate for her generous help.

2 References to most of the bibliography on the ‘Keftiu’ tombs can be found in Vercoutter 1956; Wachsmann 1987; Laboury 1990; Matthäus 1995; Rehak 1998; Panagiotopoulos 2006; Kubat 2012 and Matić 2014; 2015.

3 Rehak (1998: 42, and pl. III) combined a modified high Aegean chronology with a low Egyptian chronology, dating Hatshepsut’s reign to 1479-1457 BC; for dating see also Matthäus 1995: 186.

4 Developing the work of Claude Vandersleyen (2003) and Jacke Phillips (2008), Matic critiqued the evidence associated with the term ‘Keftiu’ in Egypt, demonstrating that Egyptologists and Aegeanists have perpetuated the ill-proven thesis that ‘Keftiu’ means only ‘Aegeans’; his views are based largely on what we know about how Egyptians viewed their world and, therefore, how they used their words.

5 An introduction to the bibliography on these topics can be found in Crowley 1989; Matthaüs 1995; Cline & Harris-Cline 1998; Panagiotopolos 2001; Feldman 2006; Hallmann 2006 and Matić 2014; 2015.

6 Malkata painting: New York, MMA. Rogers Fund 1911, 11.215.451.

7 Åström did not explain how he had learned about the cup, but it must have been through Higgins because, five years later, Aström republished these two photographs and said that Higgins had sent them to him (1977: List of plates).

8 The excavators also found sherds of a pottery vase divided this way (Åström 1977: 7, 12-13, cat. nos 1 and 9).

9 See Driessen, this volume, for a discussion of links between looters and the antiquities market.

10 Xénaki-Sakellariou (1987: 32-33, n. 15, pl. 3b) supported this claim, with photographs of the swords and information on the auction, which was announced in Ars Antiqua, Auktion, Luzern 29 April 1961, 30. I thank Anna Lemos for sending Xénaki-Sakellariou’s article..

11 Åström (1977: 16) cited Higgins’ letter but gave no date for it. For the noted (and notorious) dealer Elie Borowsky, see http:// lootingmatters.blogspot.com/2007/08/dr-elie-borowski-sources-for-his.htm; David Gill (pers. comm. 02/02/2016) confirmed that Borowsky was operating in London in the 1960s.

12 Robert Koehl, Ellen Davis’ close associate, sent her last papers to the archive at the University of Cincinnati. I asked him if she had voiced further thoughts about the London cup. Koehl told me that, to his knowledge, she “never said anything more about that cup” (pers. comm. 12-12-2014). In the summer of 2015, 1 was a Tytus Visiting Scholar at the University of Cincinnati where I had the opportunity to examine her papers in the archive; I found nothing about the London cup.

13 I asked Andrew Shapland at the British Museum about any papers Higgins may have left. Shapland (pers. comm. 12-02-2016) replied: “I’ve had a look in our archives and asked Lesley Fitton about your query but I’m afraid we can’t find anything relevant... There is no mention of the cup or anything from Ellen Davis”.

14 See, for example, Matthäus 1980: 248-249; Laffineur 1985: 264, n. 127; Crouwel & Niemeier 1989: 10; Laboury 1990: 95-96; and Matić 2015: 42-43.

15 I wish we knew precisely which piece (s) were found outside the tomb (supra n. 8).

16 Xénaki-Sakellariou (1989: 5) thanked the chemists of the Archaeological Service for their contributions.

17 Piece 3, a wall fragment, had a small reinforcing layer of silver inserted between the rivet head and the two-layered wall (Verdelis in Åström 1977: 55). Verdelis, Davis, and Xénaki-Sakellariou described pieces 1 and 2, both handle fragments, as having three layers of metal, but here the authors were referring to a method of inlaying called “au second degré” by Laffineur (1974: 16), “double inlay’’ by Davis (1977: 266), and “incrustation/niellure sophistiquee” by Xénaki-Sakellariou (1989: 11-12). In this process the tiny pictorial cut-outs of metal are set into a base piece of metal which, in turn, is placed into the object. This is not the same phenomenon as a three-layered wall.

18 Verdelis (in Åström 1977: 55) gave dimensions: gold band 3 mm wide, and wire 0.05 mm thick.

19 Compare these dimensions to those for piece I, the upper handle, which is 3.3 x 2.7 cm wide, and for piece 3, a wall fragment, that is 5 x 4.5 cm wide (Xénaki-Sakellariou 1989: 31).

20 Davis (1977: 348-349) mentioned small rivets in the construction of some Aegean metal vases, but she did not cite any for the London cup or the Nauplion fragments.

21 No author included a scale in the photographs, but Davis (1973: 239, n. 594) advised that the fragments in Verdelis’ photograph were not shown in a consistent scale, and that [our piece 8] was actually larger than it appeared.

22 Schuppi – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia: Silver cup from chamber tomb 12 of Dendra.

Table des illustrations

Légende Fig. 21.1. Senmut’s ’Keftiu’ cup with bulls’ heads (after facsimile by Nina de Garis Davies, MMA 30.4.49, www.metmuseum.org)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/6792/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 48k
Légende Fig. 21.2. Malkata Palace, Amenhotep III’s robing room ceiling, New York, MMA (photo author)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/6792/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 39k
Légende Fig. 21.3. ˊKeftiuˊ cups in Theban tombs (courtesy of Dagmar Kubat 2012: 230, Table 1, after Laboury 1990: pl. XXV)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/6792/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 17k
Légende Fig. 21.4. Senmut’s wall, Hay’s sketch ca. 1837 (courtesy of Uroš Matić 2015: 40, fig. 1, after H. R. Hall, Civilization of Greece in the Bronze Age, 1928,199)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/6792/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 41k
Légende Fig. 21.5. Senmut’s wall, Mond’s photograph early 20TH century (after Hall: 1909-1910, Frontispiece)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/6792/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 40k
Légende Fig. 21.6. Senmut’s wall, Dorman’s photograph ca. 1990 (after Dorman 1991: pl. 21 d)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/6792/img-6.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 40k
Légende Fig. 21.7. Senmut’s spiral cup (after facsimile by Nina de Garis davies, MMA 30.4.49, www. metmuseum. org)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/6792/img-7.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 34k
Légende Fig. 21.8. Mycenae, Shaft Grave V, gold cup with spirals (after Kubat 2012: fig. 29 with permission)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/6792/img-8.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 24k
Légende Fig. 21.9. Vaphio Tholos, gold cups (Zde 080873, commons.wikimedia.org)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/6792/img-9.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 22k
Légende Fig. 21.10. Dendra Tholos, silver cup (after Xénaki-Sakellariou 1989: pl. XI, 1)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/6792/img-10.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 11k
Légende Fig. 21.11. Enkomi, silver cup (after Xénaki-Sakellariou 1989: pl. X, 3)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/6792/img-11.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 24k
Légende Fig. 21.12. London cup, unrestored (after Åström 1972: 51 above)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/6792/img-12.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 26k
Légende Fig. 21.13. London cup, unrestored (after Åström 1972: 51 below)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/6792/img-13.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 35k
Légende Fig. 21.14. London cup, restored (after Davis 1977: fig. 96)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/6792/img-14.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 43k
Légende Fig. 21.15. Åström and Verdelis at Dendra, chamber tomb 12 (after Åström 1972: 47)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/6792/img-15.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 55k
Légende Fig. 21.16. Nauplion fragments (after Verdelis in Åström 1977: pl. IX, 1-2)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/6792/img-16.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 43k
Légende Fig. 21.17. Nauplion fragments, Verdelis’ reconstruction (after Verdelis in Åström 1977: pl. IX, 3)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/6792/img-17.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 27k
Légende Fig. 21.18. Diagram of triple-layered wall construction (after Davis 1977: fig. 213)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/6792/img-18.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 40k
Légende Fig. 21.19. Nauplion fragments, Davis’new reconstruction (after Davis 1977: fig. 211)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/6792/img-19.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 26k
Légende Fig. 21.20. Nauplion, all fragments (modified by author after Xénaki-Sakellariou 1989: pl. XIII, 1,2,3)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/6792/img-20.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 63k
Légende Fig. 21.21. Piece 8, Nauplion Museum (After Xénaki-Sakellariou 1989: pl. XIII, 3)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/6792/img-21.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 12k
Légende Fig. 21.22. Nauplion Archaeological Museum, Cuirass Tomb, 2015 (courtesy of Dimitri Laboury)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/6792/img-22.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 56k
Légende Fig. 21.23. Nauplion Archaeological Museum, Cuirass Tomb, restored inlaid cup (see n. 22)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/6792/img-23.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 23k
Légende Fig. 21.24. Nauplion Archaeological Museum, Cuirass Tomb, restored inlaid cup (see n. 22)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/6792/img-24.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 20k
Légende Fig. 21.25. Nauplion Archaeological Museum, Cuirass Tomb, restored inlaid cup (see n. 22)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/6792/img-25.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 20k

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