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Greek Gnathian Hydria w/ Floral Decoration - TL Tested

Magna Graecia, southern Italy, near present day Ignazia, ca. 340 to 320 BCE. A stunning and quite sizeable blackware hydria, decorated in the Gnathian technique with fugitive white pigments and incised linear and curvilinear patterns that reveal the pink clay body beneath. A band of abstract floral or beech nut pendants terminating in dots below adorns the downturned section of the rim. These motifs also adorn the register on the neck of the vessel, with additional dotted and incised bands above and three blooming vines descending from it - from neck to shoulder - one curvilinear with emerging dotted flowers and buds, and two that fall straight down with heart-shaped blooms that are also further adorned by dotted flower motifs. The hole through the bottom indicates that this piece was used to make liquid offerings when placed over the grave - an ancient Greek funerary practice. A wonderful example of Gnathian pottery, impressive for its elegant form and extensive decorative program. Size: 7.5" handlespan x 12.125" H (19 cm x 30.8 cm)

Hydrias as their name implies were used for carrying water; the two horizontal handles on either side of the body were used for lifting and carrying the pot, while the third handle, a vertical one, located between the other two handles and joining neck to shoulder was used when pouring water.

Gnathia ware is named for the site where it was first discovered - the Apulian site of Egnathia. The black glaze ware is traditionally decorated with floral motifs in red, white, or yellow hues. Scholars believe that its production most likely was centered around Taras, with primary workshops in Egnathia and Canosa. The quantity and quality of Greek colonial Apulian potters increased significantly following the Peloponnesian War when Attic exports dramatically decreased. Apulian artistry demonstrates influences of Ionian (Athenian, Attic) conventions, as well as Doric (western colonial Greek) styles, with a palpable native Italian aesthetic.

This piece has been tested using thermoluminescence (TL) and has been found to be ancient and of the period stated. A full report will accompany purchase.

Condition: Chips to upper and lower edges of rim and base as shown. Cracquelure at juncture between body and base. Body shows surface cracks that do not extend beneath the glaze. Normal surface wear commensurate with age, but decoration is still strong. Black glaze has attained an attractive iridescence. TL hole on base.

Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection

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