Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


5 January 2016

Transformers Energize! Aegean Bronze Age rhyta in moments of transformation

Laerke Recht In A. Bokern & C. Rowan (eds), Embodying Value? The Transformation of Objects in and from the Ancient World (Oxford 2014): 35-51


This paper examines the well-known Bronze Age Aegean vessel type of rhyta as agents of transfer and transformation. A series of ‘moments’ presents the variety of contexts in which rhyta occur, including as transformers of content, as part of ritual processes and geographical movements. I explore how rhyta were important players not only in religious acts, but also in acts of display and secrecy, whether in processions in the Aegean or abroad, in magic tricks, or as hidden from human view in building deposits. It is argued that their transformative potential makes rhyta multifaceted vessels suitable for a variety of contexts which range from practical to symbolic, but they are often not reducible to simply one or the other.



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