Classical World, Etruria, ca. early 6th century CE. An elegant chalice with a slightly concave bowl and flaring, trumpet-shaped foot with a short, hollow stem. In the interior of the bowl there is a deep groove separating the wide rim from the floor of the bowl. The vase is a lustrous black with a flanged base and three incised grooves around the center of its body. Size: 6.45" W x 7.55" H (16.4 cm x 19.2 cm)
Chalices like this one were wheel-made, with a foot that was thrown separately on the wheel and joined to the rest of the vase 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 technique. This type of chalice was common during this period, and seems to have been inspired by Assyrian chalices imported from the Near East a century earlier. This chalice 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. Therefore, it seems likely that chalices like this one were also used in everyday life for drinking wine or other beverages.
Provenance: private New York, New York, USA collection; ex-collection of the archaeologist, Professor Rudolf Paulsen, Munich, Germany (died 1985)
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