Antique Carved Alabaster Centerpiece from Volterra

ORIGIN: Tuscany, Italy
AGE: 19th century
DIMENSIONS: 16 ½” l x 10” w x 12 ½” h
MATERIALS: Alabaster
CONDITION:  Excellent

Description

This antique carved alabaster centerpiece is an exquisite example of fine Italian craftsmanship. The oval bowl has two leaf-shaped handles on each side and a dentilated edge.  Two dolphins are carved into the pedestal base and their tails seem to support the oval basin.   This centerpiece is constructed of two pieces of alabaster – the bowl and the dolphin base are one piece, while the larger base is a separate piece.  The two pieces are solidly connected.  The color is a gorgeous mottled gray.  This handcrafted centerpiece is large enough to make a statement on an entry table, buffet or dining table.     

This piece was crafted in the late 1800s in the town of Volterra in Tuscany.  The long tradition of working alabaster in Volterra started in ancient times when the Etruscans discovered the stone nearby.  The large deposits of alabaster surrounding Volterra are considered among the most precious because of the hardness, transparency, and veins.