Magna Graecia, South Italy, Apulian, ca. 4th century BCE. A fabulous duo of wheel-thrown and hand-built pottery prochoi (singular prochous) with ringed feet, rounded bodies, planar shoulders, elongated necks, and overarching handles with a pair of discoid roundels flanking either side of a narrow spout. Dozens of molded vertical ribs adorn the bodies of each vessel, and a quintet of miniscule stamped palmettes surrounds the base of each neck. Both prochoi are enveloped in a lustrous jet-black glaze with faint areas of silver iridescence complementing the darkened coloration. Size of each: 3.5" W x 4.5" H (8.9 cm x 11.4 cm).
A prochous is a type of vessel that has a variety of scholarly interpretations, all of which pertain to pouring some form of fluid (from the Greek "prochein," meaning "to pour forth"). Some scholars believe the prochous was used for pouring water over one’s hands prior to mealtimes, while others suggest it was used to pour and/or store oil and wine, and others still posit that they were used to refill oil-burning lamps.
A singular similar example hammered for GBP 3,125 ($4,158) at Bonhams, London, New Bond Street Antiquities Auction (April 25, 2012, lot 15).
Provenance: ex-Madame Frances Artuner collection, Belgium, acquired in the 1960s to 1990s
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