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Greek Campanian Blackware Guttus w/ Herakles

Magna Graecia, Southern Italy, Campania, ca. 360 to 325 BCE. A fine mold-made ceramic guttus (also guttos) used to pour oil into oil-burning lamps. The vessel rests upon a concave ringed foot with a discoid body covered in dozens of fine vertical ribs, a petite loop handle, and an upturned pouring spout with an everted ringed lip. The central tondo depicts a stylized face of the mythical hero Herakles with a bushy beard, almond-shaped eyes, and a slender nose, all beneath the open-mouthed pelt of the Nemean Lion. The majority of the guttus is covered in a lustrous black glaze and areas of faint silvery iridescence, though the underside of the foot still boasts its orange buffware coloration. A fantastic example depicting one of mythology's mightiest heroes! Size: 4.5" W x 3.25" H (11.4 cm x 8.3 cm).

Herakles is known for his immense physical strength and courage. His adventures in the Greco-Roman world were narrated in the canonical Twelve Labors, the first occurring when King Eurystheus asked Herakles to bring him the skin of a fierce lion that terrorized the hillside around Nemea - a seemingly impossible task. Despite the fact that initially Herakles' arrows were utterly useless against this threatening beast, our hero ultimately succeeded, clutching the lion in his muscular arms all the while strategically avoiding its claws, finally choking it to death.

The list of labors also includes slaying the nine-headed Lernaean Hydra; capturing the Golden Hind of Artemis; capturing the Erymanthian Boar; cleaning the Augean stables in one day; slaying the Stymphalian Birds; capturing the Cretan Bull; stealing the Mares of Diomedes; acquiring the girdle of Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons; acquiring the cattle of the monster Geryon; stealing the apples of the Hesperides; and finally, capturing Cerberus.

Condition: Surface wear and abrasions commensurate with age as expected, with very minor nicks to body, base, and tondo, otherwise intact and excellent. Nice earthen deposits as well as faint silvery iridescence throughout. Great craquelure to glaze in some areas.

Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection

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