Classical World, Etruria, ca. early 6th century CE. A large kyathos, a drinking cup with a tall handle, in the glossy black style of Bucchero ware. This particular example has a low, wide foot and a tall loop handle decorated with a foliate finial (a common Etruscan symbol) and a little mask. The body also has a design of bulbous protrusions at regular intervals punctuated by masks; the finial shape is echoed around the rim. Size: 8.55" L x 6.35" W x 7.6" H (21.7 cm x 16.1 cm x 19.3 cm)
Items like these were wheel-made, with a foot that was thrown separately on the wheel and joined to the rest of the body as the two pieces began to harden. It was then burnished with a slip and fired in a reducing atmosphere to produce this glossy black color, which is the famous Bucchero style. This kyathos almost certainly came from a funerary context, placed in an opulent Etruscan tomb as an offering. However, it was probably placed there because similar - or maybe even the same - vessels were used in life by the people of Etruria; items placed in the tomb were meant to be a link between the world of the living and the dead, and to help furnish a symbolic domestic space for the deceased.
Provenance: Ex-Private Orange County, CA collection
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