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Greek Campanian Blackware Guttos w/ Medusa

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Magna Graecia, Southern Italy, Campania, ca. 325 BCE. A well-preserved black-glazed pottery guttos (oil pouring vessel) with a rounded form. It has a single, tall spout terminating in a broad rim, a ring handle attached to the upper shoulder, and a central disc, slightly concave, bearing a relief image of the head of Medusa. A guttos like this example would have been used for holding precious oil to fill lamps. Size: 4.7" L x 4.7" W x 3" H (11.9 cm x 11.9 cm x 7.6 cm)

Medusa is the most famous of the three gorgons from classical mythology, a human woman with hair made of venomous snakes. The concept of the gorgon, a frightening, beast-like, female creature, is at least as old as Homer and continued to be used as a monstrous symbol throughout the Roman period, especially popular as decoration on pottery. What this says about the Classical relationship with women we can only speculate…

Condition: Intact. Nice remaining pigment and clear motif.

Provenance: private Carlton Collection, Los Angeles, California, USA, acquired between 1965 and 1980

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