Magna Graecia, Southern Italy, Eastern Apulia/Gnathia, ca. 340 to 325 BCE. A large wheel-thrown olpe supported by a wide, concave ringed foot with a decorative everted ridge. The bulbous body is adorned by dozens of miniscule mold-formed ribs leading upwards to a squat neck decorated with incised flowering vines, the blooms delineated in added white pigment. A flared rim leads inwards to a deep interior cavity via a gaping mouth, with a bifurcated handle embellished with a curving Herakles knot in the center. A jet-black glaze envelops the exterior and areas of the upper interior with areas of faint silvery iridescence complementing the overall presentation. Size: 4" W x 5" H (10.2 cm x 12.7 cm).
Gnathia ware is named for the site where it was first discovered - the Apulian site of Egnathia (also Gnatia, Egnatia, Ignazia). The black glaze ware is traditionally decorated with floral and other decorative motifs in red, white, or yellow hues. Scholars believe that its production most likely was centered around Taras, with primary workshops in Egnathia and Canosa. The quantity and quality of Greek colonial Apulian potters increased significantly following the Peloponnesian War when Attic exports dramatically decreased. Apulian artistry demonstrates influences of Ionian (Athenian, Attic) conventions, as well as Doric (western colonial Greek) styles, with a palpable native Italian aesthetic.
Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection
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Small repair to upper area of handle. Surface wear and minor abrasions commensurate with age as expected, fading to glaze and painted decorations, small chips to rim, handle, body, and base, with minor roughness across most surfaces. Light earthen deposits within recessed areas, and nice root marks within vessel. Scattered areas of faint silvery iridescence.