second half of the 4th century. A.D.
The bronze water pan features an engraved decoration with an ocean head in the central circle surrounded by marine scenes. The scenes represent a sailor on a sailboat carrying amphorae, a fisherman with rod, two fishermen with nets gathered in a rowboat and a standing fisherman with rod and fish. The entire field is densely filled with depictions of sea animals and birds. The water pan is an accessory of the banquet service: it was in fact used to wash hands, as documented by the representation on a silver plate from the end of the 4th century from Cesena, which represents a servant in the act of pouring water from a jug inside the pan, while the guest rinses his hand. This type of bronze pan was produced until the 7th century. The example of the Crypta Balbi represents one of the highest achievements of late antique toreutics, probably created by an atelier active in Rome in the advanced fourth century that elaborated models of the previous century with a particular style. For this reason, the dating of the water pan can be placed in the second half of the 4th century.