Weathered Mediterranean storage jars, or 'pithoi' as the ancient Greeks called them, are currently late summer best-sellers at LASSCO's Oxfordshire branch in Milton Common.
The collection at LASSCO Three Pigeons comes from a private source. Although the majority are early 20th century, some are in fact older.
Thought to originate in Crete and in use as early as the Bronze Age, these ceramic jars found favour throughout the Mediterranean and over the centuries have served many purproses. Though mainly used to store oil, wine or grain, on occasion the tallest variety were even used as coffins when wood was in short supply.
Aside from storage, Pithoi today are often used as decorative garden features. You'll be hard-pressed to find a designed garden in a life-style magazine without one or two dotted around. I am told they make ideal water butts.
Despite the increasing 'green' trend and LASSCO's dedication to recycling, we are assured by those 'in-the-know' that pithoi are no longer being used as coffins – at least that's what we've been told!
Antiques Trade Gazette, 29/08/08