Greek Black Figure Band-Cup
A very fine Greek black figure terracotta band-cup featuring a semi-spherical wide cup with two horizontal loop handles. The vessel sits on a narrow cylindrical foot that splays outwards at the base. The inside is painted black with the decoration of a central black dot enclosed in a concentric circle. The continuous frieze that is displayed horizontally across the body depicts seven figures; a youth on a horse at the centre with a dancer either side of him and four male figures wearing himations. Each end of the frieze is finished with palmette flowers. The other side of the cup displays another youth on a horse, two dancers and two male figures dressed in himations with palmette flowers at either ends. Red pigment enriches the figures hair, clothing, the horse’s manes and the petals. White and red flowers decorate the robes of the figures.
Circa 6th Century BCProvenance:
Ex Conrad Van der Molen family collection, Monaco, by descent from the Netherlands, 1970, acquired by the J. L collection. Condition:
Excellent condition, complete and intact.
Black and red figure painting was at its height between the sixth and late fourth century BC. The technique was a popular process used in Athens to decorate exquisite pottery. The potter would first mould the pieces out of clay to the desired shapes, including the handles, foot and body, then once dried, assemble all the parts together. A slip would be applied to decorate the pottery. The firing was a three-step process, oxygen would flow through the kiln during the first firing turning the vase orange/red. The oxygen holes would be reduced with wood and a second firing would take place transforming the vase to a black colour. The final firing would allow an increase of oxygen and every part of the vase that did not have slip turned orange again creating the black figure decoration.
To discover more about Ancient Greek pottery, please visit our relevant blog post: Collecting Ancient Greek Vases.