Rare 19th Century Gilt Bronze Mounted Alabastro Rosa Fiorito Antico Urn
Alabastro Rosa Fiorito is among the most beautiful & rare of ancient stones, with its distinct veining, exceptional colours and stunning lustre. The characteristics of this superlatively figured example are the rarest you could ever find. It is a compact banded travertine composed mainly of Calcite, with some bands as colourless prismatic crystals. It is richly coloured by iron oxides, red Hematite and brown Goethite, in places there are clearly bushy growths, as appear in this magnificent example, suggesting the action of Cyanobacteria. It was most probably from the Pamukkale area, Denizli in Turkey. The spa resort of Pamukkale is the site of the ancient city of Hierapolis, and travertine, deposited by hot springs, forms huge terraces from which stone was extracted in ancient times. Ancient quarries have been located near the ruins of Hierapolis and near the village of Gölemezli.
The Roman Lawyer & most respected collector of ancient decorative stones used by the Romans, Avvocato Faustino Corsi ( 1771-1846 ) noted that Alabastro a Rosa Fiorito, of which this stunning piece is the finest of examples, was ”Rarissimo”, very rare. According to Pliny the Elder, Alabastro takes its name from a the castle of Alabastro near the city of Thebes in Egypt. The Romans started to import the stone during the 2nd century BC when it was used to make busts of Gods and prominent individuals, as well as vessels to contain perfumes and ointments, as it was believed it would best preserve these. Alabaster was also used to make columns, such as the large example from the Museum of the Villa Albani that Faustino Corsi Romano refers to in his Pietre Antiche of 1843.
The absolute finest figured example of this most majestic and rare of stones, with truly exceptionally mounts throughout. A Museum quality masterpiece.