Greek South Italian Gnathian Skyphos


A decorated terracotta, Greek skyphos from Southern Italy, the region of Apulia, displaying typical features of Gnathian style. The vessel features a large tapering bowl, which rests on a slightly concave foot. Two handles sit on either side of the vessel. Covered mostly in a rich, black glaze, the cup is decorated with white pigment around the upper body. A band of ovolos embellish the rim of the skyphos with small dots in between each curve. Small floral and foliage motifs are visible below.

Date: Circa 4th Century BC
Provenance: Collected in the 1930's/1940's by the former owner’s father.
Condition: Very fine condition, earthly encrustation to the surface.


SKU: LD-603 Category: Tags: , ,

The Gnathian style originated from Apulia, a region of Italy located along the southern coast.  It consisted of a polychromic design applied onto a dark, varnished background. The primary colours used were red, white and yellow although white soon became the dominant colour. The skyphos, a typical drinking cup in southern Italy, were used during drinking parties because of its practical shape. According to Plato, drinking parties were a common event which allowed guests to have discussions or articulate riddles. Along with listening to music and feasting, they would later sing many songs of skolia, several consisting of the pleasures of wine. The wine produced was aged in leather and clay containers, the alcohol content would be very high and therefore mixed with water to dilute the substance allowing for a better taste.

To find out more about the different types of Greek vessels please visit our relevant blog post: Types of Ancient Greek Vases.

Weight 136.1 g
Dimensions W 16.3 x H 10 cm

Pottery and Porcelain


Reference: For a similar item,The British Museum, item .589

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