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Great dish from the Mildenhall treasure

The Mildenhall treasure is one of the most important collections of late-Roman silver tableware from anywhere in the Roman empire. Although no coins were found to give a reliable date, the tableware’s style and decoration is typical of the fourth century ad. The artistic and technical quality of the objects is outstanding, and they probably belonged to someone of considerable wealth and status.
Bronze flesh-hook

This bronze ‘flesh-hook’, possibly used to pull chunks of meat out of a cauldron, was found in a bog at Dunaverney, Ireland, in 1829. Recent radiocarbon dating has placed it between 1050 and 900 вс, within the Late Bronze Age - a time of superb bronze-working skills.
Muse casket from the Esquiline treasure


This domed silver casket, known as the Muse casket, is part of the Esquiline treasure, a collection of Roman silverware discovered in 1793 at the foot of the Esquiline Hill, Rome.
Lacquer dish


This dish is one of the earliest known examples of polychrome lacquer carved with a pictorial scene. By the time of its manufacture, the art of carving such scenes was being perfected, and these beautifully executed pieces were often made to imperial order.
Marlborough ice pail

Ice pails, designed to cool a single bottle of wine, were made to be placed on the dining table. They became fashionable at the French court from the 1680s and were used by nobility and wealthy aristocracy throughout Europe.
Elgin amphora

This splendid neck-handled amphora was made during Greece’s Geometric period (900—700 вс) and has been restored from fragments excavated in Athens in 1804-6. It was probably used to hold wine at the funerary feast of a wealthy individual and then placed in his tomb, perhaps along with some smaller vases and a bronze dinos (cauldron) containing his ashes.
Qingbai wine ewer and basin

QINGBAI (blue-white) and yingqing (shadow blue) wares take their name from the blue colour of their glaze, produced at Jingdezhen in southeastern China from the tenth century. Much of the early production imitated northern white wares in shape and decoration, particularly the Ding wares of Hebei province. Different firing processes yielded the very different colour tones.
Blacas ewer

This ewer is a masterful example of medieval Islamic inlaid brass. It was made in Mosul, a city that became famous from the twelfth century onwards for its inlaid metalwork. Mosul metalworkers inlaid brass vessels with intricate courtly scenes in silver and copper to create glittering objects that were very popular with the local elite. They were often given as diplomatic gifts to neighbouring rulers.
Lycurgus cup

This extraordinary cup is the only surviving complete example made from dichroic glass, which changes colour when held up to the light. When light is shone through the body of the cup it turns from opaque green to a glowing translucent red. The glass contains tiny amounts of colloidal gold and silver, which give it these unusual optical properties.
Incised lacquer cup

Sophisticated lacquer vessels have been excavated in China dating from the Shang period (about 1500-1050 вс), and high quality lacquers were produced in large quantities in the Warring States period (475-221 вс). By the Han dynasty (206 bc-ad 220), the lacquer industry was organized under government control and using early processes of mass production.