Roman Green Lead-Glazed Terracotta Kylix


A fine Roman green lead-glazed terracotta kylix featuring a convex body, forming a shallow bowl. Two handles have been applied to either side of the vessel and the piece sits upon a ring foot. The interior of the bowl is enriched with four cupids, all presented in in different poses. At the centre, below the feet of all the cupids, is the frontal portrait of Apollo. The scene is framed a band of s-shaped curves incised into the upper neck.

Date: Circa 1st century BC
Condition: Fine condition, several repairs to the body and one of the handle with slight chips to base.

In stock

SKU: LD-537 Category: Tags: ,

Lead-glazed vessels were a Roman invention developed between the second-half of the 1st century BC. They continued to be produced until the 1st century AD. The terracotta vessels have a layer of thick glaze covering the exterior surface. Made from a mixture of silica and other minerals, predominantly lead, this discovery allowed potters to create a range of different colours. Vibrant turquoise greens, mustard yellows and rich browns could be added to the existing palette of red and black. This technique expanded the artistic repertoire, creating unique terracotta pieces. The process of creating lead-glazed vessels were costly and involved twice-firing the ceramic. Space was needed around each piece, to give the glaze room to drip freely. The inability to stack pieces into a kiln also increased the cost of production. Lead-glazed pieces originated in Syria and spread West, with inferior productions made in the Gaul. The practice died out largely due to the expensiveness of the production and the newly invention of blown glass.

In Ancient Roman culture and mythology, Cupid was the youthful god of erotic love, desire and affection. He was capable of making divine or mortal individuals fall in love with his enchanted arrows. Cupid is generally represented as a cute chubby boy with wings, carrying a bow and quiver of arrows. During the Hellenistic period, the representation of Eros, Greek counterpart of Cupid, underwent a significant change. The god who had previously been depicted as a slender, nude youth was re-envisioned as a chubby toddler. This shift in Cupid’s form seems to run parallel to the increasing interest in the representation of children as subject matter in Hellenistic art.

To find out more about Roman gods, please visit our relevant blogs: Roman Gods in Mythology.


Weight 66.1 g
Dimensions W 13.6 x H 3.2 cm


Roman Mythology



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