Cypriot “bilbil” type ceramic jug for serving wine, 1400 B.C.

This Cypriot wine carafe has a globular body, a long cylindrical neck, a funnel rim, a handle from the neck to the shoulder and a base ring with traces of white paint line decoration around the whole body. This type of pitcher is known as "bilbil" or opium poppy, due to its resemblance to the head of the poppy plant from which opium is extracted. In fact, after chemical analysis of similar vessels, it has been possible to verify that they were used to store opiates. Historically, opium, like other drugs, was a major commercial product in ancient Cyprus and was exported throughout the Mediterranean. The unique geographical position of the island of Cyprus, located in the centre of the eastern Mediterranean, makes it a natural point of connection between the cultures of the three continents: Europe, Asia and Africa. Furthermore, due to the continuous dominations that have taken place on the island, a dense network of commercial and cultural relations was created between the different civilizations that exerted their influence on the eastern shores of the Mediterranean.


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