900-1200 AD, Byzantine. Decorated Byzantine “Greek fire” grenade comprising a glazed red-brownish vessel with a domed lid, a short, cylindrical neck, and a globular body decorated with crescent-shaped impressions which tapers into a pointed base. The body is decorated with large almond-shaped bosses and small incised almond-shaped depressions to provide extra grip to the thrower. Globular vessels such as this example are frequently interpreted as an early type of hand grenades.
It is believed that these jars could have contained an incendiary agent such as the infamous “Greek fire” which was impervious to water, making them invaluable weapons in naval battles. Unfortunately, the recipe for “Greek fire” was lost with the fall of the Byzantine empire, but it was likely a petroleum-based mixture. Superb condition, custom-made stand.
Size: L:165mm / W:85mm ; 910g
Provenance: From an old British collection of Asian Art formed in the 1990 on the UK and European art market.