Greece, Corinth, ca. 7th to 6th century BCE. A matched pair of olpes, ceramic jugs with broad rims made to pour wine, low, round feet, and handles composed of twin cylinders joined together that rise from the shoulder, curve in an obtuse angle at the top of the neck, and blend into the rim. Each olpe is decorated with a series of three registers around their wide bodies, each depicting a variety of animals and large lotus designs. These are painted in dark red and black over the buff fired clay of the vessels, with incised lines forming details. Boars, swans, and lionesses, each shown in profile (although the face of each lioness is turned to look at the viewer), chase each other around the bodies. Size of largest: 5.8" W x 9.1" H (14.7 cm x 23.1 cm)
During this time, Corinthian plates showed the influence of eastern trade connections with the city - creating art with stylized plants and animal friezes, inspired by the Levant, Egypt, and Assyria. This is known as the "Orientalizing Period." The animals shown here probably form a hunting scene, depicting animals likely to be kept by nobility in special hunting preserves in the ancient Near East. For example, the lion did not live in Greece at this time, but is a very common Corinthian motif inspired by Near Eastern societies, where the animals did live. The incised detail, brought by trade from Corinth to Attica, may have inspired the silhouettes of the black-figure period.
Provenance: private Swiss collection
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