Magna Graecia, South Italy, Apulia, Xenon, ca. 340 to 325 BCE. A classic prochous (prochoos) vessel - a petite cousin to the oinochoe - with an elegant inverted piriform body on a tiered foot, featuring twin applied faces (the visages wearing helmets or caplike coiffures) to either side of the mouth and a characteristically dramatically upturned spout, created in a pottery workshop in the Apulia region of southern Italy where potters were known for introducing additional pigments to black glazed vessels and Greek settlers produced pottery inspired by Classical Greek forms. The surface of this example of Xenon ware presents two decorative registers adorning the body/shoulder - from top to bottom - a band of vertical frets and a register of elegant laurel leaves framed by thin linear bands - all in added fugitive pink pigment characteristic of Xenon ware. Overall, a lovely example that demonstrates skillful technique, an attractive painted decorative program, and a surface boasting stunning luster and areas of iridescence. Size: 2.875" in diameter x 6.25" H (7.3 cm x 15.9 cm)
A prochous is a vessel that some scholars believe was used for pouring water over the hands to cleanse prior to meals, while others suggest was used to pour and/or store oil and wine. Xenon ware is a specific type of Apulian pottery, named after a famous vase in Frankfurt (Beazley, EVP, p. 219,1.) that is inscribed with the name: XENON. This type is distinguished by added matt pink/red decoration over black glaze as we see in this example.
Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection; ex Carlton collection, Los Angeles, California, USA acquired between 1965 and 1980
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Surface wear with only very minor pigment losses and scratches. Minute nicks to periphery of base. Nice areas of iridescence. Old inventory label and earthen deposits on underside of base. Overall near choice.