Roman Redware Bowl with Incised Leaf Decoration


A fine Roman redware shallow bowl featuring a flat base with a small ring foot. The sides slightly extend outwards towards the staggered out-splayed shoulder and a folded rim. The bowl is enriched with an incised geometric design. A central circle is displayed with four pinnate leaves, equally spaced, extending outwards. The image is encompassed by a band of diagonal lines.

Date: Circa 3rd-5th century AD
Provenance: The Oxford Library Sale, 1970's onwards.
Condition: Excellent condition, very minor chip to rim, some encrustation to the surface.


The bowl is made with terra sigillata technique (from Latin meaning ‘sealed earth) of north African provenance and constituted a precious kind of fine ware, reserved for the elites as a way to display prestige at banquets and dinner parties. The pottery is categorised by its orange/red colour and shiny surface. Red slip ware became popular around the first century AD and by the third century it was the most popular type of tableware used in the Late Roman household. Dishes or other pottery made in this style were influenced by religion and mythology, with earlier pieces favouring the Roman gods and legends, and later pieces depicting early Christian saints and other biblical scenes. Hunting scenes were usual Roman decorations, with the addition of ‘exotic’ animals such as lions, panthers or elephants being a common addition to the decorations.

Weight 507.5 g
Dimensions W 26 x H 4.4 cm

Pottery and Porcelain


You may also like…