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Campanian Black Guttus

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posted on 2022-08-09, 07:54 authored by Centre for Ancient Cultures MuseumCentre for Ancient Cultures Museum

This vessel with a narrow spout called a "guttus" (meaning "drop" in Latin), was used to pour a controlled amount of oil to fill lamps, add perfumed oil to a bath, or in rituals.  The style of this vessel ties it to production in Southern Italy in the region of Campania. This example has a circular handle and an upward-pointing spout in the shape of a lion’s head. At the centre of the upper surface is a mouth with circular ledge. Within the latter are perforations which filtered the oil used to fill the container; the opening was once closed with a now-missing lid. On the squat body and the ring handle is a pattern of vertical incised lines. Covered with black gloss, except for the underside of the low foot. 

Object number: 127.016.

Date: 4th century BCE

Parallels: The example in New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art 96.18.35 is a very close parallel, showing the same type of lion head as spout. Additional similar examples showing lion-shaped spout and ribbed body are: London, British Museum 1772,0320.709, 1978,0317.35, 1982,1003.10; Yale, Yale University Art Gallery 1913.376; Toledo, Toledo Museum of Art 1983.103A-B; Northampton, Castle Ashby 103; Genoa, Museo Civico di Archeologia Ligure di Genova e Collezione del Castello d’Albertis 1097; for a Sicilian example see Motya (Marsala), Museo Whitaker MGW 2326.

References: Richter, G. M. A., 1927. Handbook of the Classical Collection, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 204; Baur, P. V. C., Catalogue of the Rebecca Darlington Stoddard Collection of Greek and Italian Vases at Yale University, 1st ed., New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1922; Lamb, W., Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum, Great Britain, fasc. 6, Cambridge, London, 1930, pl. XLI, no. 13; Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum, 39, pl. (714) 59.1-2 (Northampton); Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum, IV.E.G.3, pl. (935) 1.6 (Genoa); Oliveri, F., Toti, M. P., Animals from Motya: Depictions and Archaeological Evidence in the Phoenician Town in Sicily, in Arts 2020, 9(3), 96, fig. 19.

Photo by Steve Morton