Greece, Corinth, ca. 7th to 6th century BCE. A richly decorated terracotta oinochoe with a round body, a broad, flat base, and a squat trefoil mouth. A tall, thin strap handle rises from the broad shoulder to the edge of the rim. The shoulder is decorated with vertical stripes of alternating black and deep maroon, which once would have been a bright red. Below that is a band of repeated motifs - lions and harpies - alternating as they encircle the wide body of the vessel. Below that are two bands of further linear decorations. Incised lines in the paint form the details of the creatures depicted, and some scholars believe that the style inspired the incised silhouettes of the black-figure period. Size: 5" W x 7.25" H (12.7 cm x 18.4 cm)
During this time, Corinthian vessels showed the influence of eastern trade connections with the city - creating art with stylized plants and animal friezes, inspired by trade with the Levant, Egypt, and Assyria. This is known as the "Orientalizing Period." The lions shown here may relate to a hunting scene, depicting an animal that may have been kept by nobility in special hunting preserves in the ancient Near East - after all, the lion did not live in Greece at this time, but is a very common Corinthian motif inspired by Near Eastern societies. The harpy is also a common motif from this period - originally a personification of the wind, the mythological figures slowly transformed into fierce half-women, half-birds who ranked among the guardians of the underworld.
Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection
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