Gnathia Ware Decorated Skyphos


A highly decorated skyphos from the Gnathia region of Magnia Graecia. It is made from light brown clay, which has been covered with a rich black gloss. The vase has a large, tapering body which rests on a small, undecorated foot, and there are two small handles attached to either side. The front central decorative panel features a row of white and yellow tongues at the rim. This is followed by a yellow chevron row, bordered on either side by two thin parallel lines. A row of yellow dots intersects the main floral scene, which comprises horizontal and vertical vine branches painted in maroon and gold. This borders a gold ladder in the centre. The reverse features the same row of white and yellow tongues at the rim, bordered in turn by two thin parallel lines. Three hanging white tendrils flank two gold dot-rosettes.

Date: Circa Late 4th Century BC
Condition: Fine condition; several parts professionally repaired.


The pottery attributed to the “Gnathia style” is so termed after the site of Gnathia (present-day Egnazia), which is located on the Adriatic coast of Apulia. The style is conspicuous, with decorative features in three distinct colours (maroon, white, and a yellow-ochre ‘gold’) painted over a coat of black varnish. Scholars believe that its production most likely was centred around Taras, with primary workshops in Egnathia and Canosa. The quantity and quality of Greek colonial Apulian potters increased significantly following the Peloponnesian War, when Attic exports were drastically reduced. Apulian artistry displays the influences of Ionian (Athenian, Attic) conventions, as well as of Doric (western colonial Greek) styles, whilst maintaining a native Italian aesthetic. Southern Italy was populated by a large number of Greek colonies from the 8th century BC onwards – so much so that the Romans referred to the area as Magna Graecia – ‘Great Greece’. These Greek colonies were instrumental in bringing Greek culture and thought to Italy, greatly influencing Roman literature, philosophy, and material culture in turn. Skyphoi were vessels typically used for consuming wine.

To discover more about Ancient Greek pottery, please visit our relevant blog post: Collecting Ancient Greek Vases.

Weight 169.1 g
Dimensions W 16.7 x H 11.4 cm



Pottery and Porcelain

Reference: For similar, see the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Item 1971.11.2