Israel Department of Antiquities and Museums

Lion-headed rhyton. This one handled ritual drinking cup, or rhyton, found near the Tell Qasile temple, is an impressive example of Philistine decorative art. It has bulging eyes and cheeks and a flattened nose; its open jaws show tongue and fangs. Red and black painted designs accentuate the features.

Animal-headed rhyta have a long history in the Mycenaean Minoan repertoire. Processional scenes painted on New Kingdom tomb walls in Egypt show envoys, probably from Crete or the Aegean islands, bearing gifts of precious metal, including lion headed rhyta, to the Egyptian functionaries.