The Tazza Farnese

SharonBerman Cropped lo res

I recently finished reading Medusa’s Gaze: The Extraordinary Journey of the Tazza Farnese by Marina Belozerskaya.  The Tazza Farnese is a banded agate libation bowl which experts believed was carved during “Pharaoh’s time.”   It features Medusa’s head on one side and an assembly of gods on the other. The book traces the bowl’s peregrinations throughout history. It lasted in one piece until the 1920s when a deranged museum guard broke it into many pieces.  The restored Tazza Farnese can be seen today in a museum in Naples.  I found it to be a very interesting history read combining the decorative arts and Western Civilization.

The story of the Tazza Farnese is relevant to a marketing question as old as time: What makes one product a stand-out success over another? While the Tazza’s beauty and uniqueness are something to behold in terms of its 2,000 year-old history, it’s not alone in that there are definitely more decorative arts from antiquity that warrant similar prestige.  Throughout history, because of its buzz and word of mouth, it was always coveted by royalty and nobility. Its mystique endures through to today.


-By Berbay Principal Sharon Berman

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