Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

A new kind of pottery, called Base-ring Ware (shown here, compare with photo of Bronze Age juglet), emerged in Cyprus around the beginning of the Late Bronze Age (c. 1650 B.C.). About 4 to 6 inches high, Cypriot Base-ring juglets have turned up all over the eastern Mediterranean; the examples below were found, from left to right, in Cyprus, Israel and Egypt. In the Near East, these juglets are often called bilbils, supposedly because of the sound they make (bl bl) as liquid flows out of them.

The shape of the Base-ring juglet may have been modeled on the poppy capsule. Flipped over, the juglet’s ring-like base resembles the capsule’s crown, and the juglet’s globular body resembles the capsule itself. Thick white lines were painted on some Base-ring juglets to suggest oozing sap.

Tests performed on several Base-ring juglets from Egypt and Palestine show traces of opium. This new kind of pottery was probably created as a vessel for the opium latex.