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Apulian Gnathia-ware cup

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posted on 2022-01-27, 01:04 authored by Centre for Ancient Cultures MuseumCentre for Ancient Cultures Museum

Finely modelled ceramic Gnathia-ware cup.   Named after the ancient city of Gnathia in Southern Italy (region of Apulia), Gnathian ware vessels were painted in a variety of colours and were characteristic of the late 4th century BCE pottery production in Southern Italy, although also extensively traded to the rest of the Mediterranean. This cup has a loop strap handle coming off the shoulder and rolling onto the lower rim, which flares outward at the top. The round body is incised with grooves while the rim bears, from top to bottom, floral, dotted, and geometric decoration in white and ochre, finished off in a high black gloss. As for similar examples, the base is set on a narrow, slightly raised foot, the lower part of which was originally painted black as the rest of the body and rim; there is a reserved band just below the belly. This specific type of cup is sometimes also referred to as a ‘thistle mug’, due to its resemblance to a thistle in shape. Production was probably centered around Taras, with workshops in Gnathia (present-day Egnazia) and Canosa.

Object number: 127.006.

Date: 320-300 BCE

Parallels: Princeton, Princeton University Art Museum Y1951.25; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Illinois Spurlock Museum of World Cultures 1921.01.0008; Naples, Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli 1209.

References: Padgett, Comstock, Hermann & Vermeule, Vase Painting in Italy; Red-Figure and Related Works in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, (Boston, 1993), pp. 210-211, nos. 140-142; Giuseppe Pellegrini, Museo Civico di Bologna: Catalogo dei vasi antichi dipinti delle collezioni Palagi e Universitaria, (Bologna: Il Museo civico, 1900), cat. nos. 763ff; p. 114-115; Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum Napoli 3 [Italia n. 24], p. 13, pl. 64:7.

Photo by Steve Morton