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Greek Gnathian Pottery Epichysis

Magna Graecia, southern Italy, near Ignazia, Apulia, ca. 325 BCE. A beautiful pottery pouring vessel known as an epichysis. The vessel possesses a characteristically spool-shaped base with a curved lower body leading to a tubular neck and a slender spout joined to the shoulder by a high, raised handle, with applied matching anthropomorphic heads adorning the areas where the upper handle end meets the spout. The vessel is finely painted via the Gnathian technique with a fretted band, a dotted band, registers of leaf-like forms and grape bunches separated by a slender band, dots alternating with "V"s along the upper end of the spool, and a concentric ring and an undulating curvilinear form on the center of the spool, all in fugitive red, white, and yellow-orange paint. Size: 3.5" W x 6.7" H (8.9 cm x 17 cm).

Gnathia ware is named for the site where it was first discovered - the Apulian site of Egnathia (also Gnatia, Egnatia, Ignazia). The black glaze ware is traditionally decorated with floral and other decorative motifs in red, white, and/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.

Condition: Neck and handle reattached to lower body with small nicks and light adhesive residue along break lines. Surface wear and abrasions commensurate with age, small chips to base, body, spout, and handle, with fading to pigmentation in some areas, and light roughness across most surfaces. Nice earthen deposits and traces of original pigmentation throughout. Two old inventory labels beneath base.

Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection

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