Magna Graecia, Italy, Apulia / Daunian, ca. 4th century BCE. A fabulous polychrome kyathos (wine ladle) of a form very similar to examples from Herdonia site in Ordona, Italy. The iconographic theme is most definitely avian, with an owl-face handle. Owls were popular in Magna Graecia, being symbols Athena and associated with Athens. In addition, a checkered motif adorns the handle; this is another characteristic of Daunian vessels. Linear bands of black and red over a cream ground adorn the rim and exterior walls of the vessel, while a central crisscross surrounded by an abstract design of vertical and horizontal striations embellishes the underside of the base. A distinctive and unique vessel! Size: 9" in diameter x 5.3" H (22.9 cm x 13.5 cm)
Daunian society was a mixture of native Italians and Greeks who had settled in the area. As early as the 6th century BCE, Daunia was an extremely wealthy region as is evidenced by the rich grave goods from the urban centers of Canosa, Arpi, and Salapia among others. The shapes of the vessels remained strongly influenced by the Italians - this one, for example, is a form of the Greek kyathos, or dipper, with a flat, long, looping handle, but the wideness of the strap is purely Daunian.
Published in "The Farwell Collection" by Franklin P. Johnson (Cambridge, Mass: University of Chicago, 1953) in figure 43 and described as catalogue number Y 53 on pages 29 and 33.
Provenance: ex-private M. Jones collection, Wales, United Kingdom
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Collection numbers inscribed on base and near handle. Very light surface wear with a few minor nicks. Otherwise, intact and excellent with impressive remaining pigments.