Ancient Greece, Attic, Haimon Group, ca. 6th to 5th century BCE. A quite sizeable Attic black-figure skyphos decorated with four horses steered by a single horseman and flanked by stylized palmettes on each side (three with an added white dot at the centers). One of the horses is delineated in fugitive added white pigment, the other three via the black-figure technique. In addition, dotted grapevines adorn the field. The vessel itself is a classic skyphos form comprised of a deep rounded body with upraised loop handled upon a concave base adorned with concentric circles. Size: 11" W handlespan x 5.25" H (27.9 cm x 13.3 cm)
Horses and horsemen were popular artistic subjects in ancient Greece; with good pasture land at a premium, ownership of horses was reserved for the wealthy. They were used for hunting, racing, and war. For example, in the Iliad, horses drew chariots into war and were exchanged as gifts between high ranking people (to say nothing of the Trojan Horse!). During the 6th century BCE, the Hippeis class of citizens in Athens were required to own horses and serve in the cavalry.
Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection; ex-private Switzerland collection, acquired in the 1980s
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