Ancient Roman Terracotta Shellfish Lanx Platter
An extremely well-preserved Ancient Roman red terracotta, rectangular-shaped platter, known in Latin as lanx, featuring scalloped edges to the short sides. The centre appears concaved to contain food, most likely seafood such as oysters or mussels, judging from the shape. The platter is further enriched by incised scrolls and linear details.
Circa 2nd - 4th century ADProvenance:
From the private collection of John Lawton, Surrey, UK; formerly in a Cambridge collection since the 1990s.Condition:
Fine, the piece has been repaired. Some abrasions and signs of ageing to the surface.
Platters, such as this extremely fine example, were made to be used at the table of Roman households, and would have been ideal for laying out appetisers, known in Latin as gustrum, such as cold meat or small sea food. Such plate might have been also used to offer the famous Ancient Roman fish sauce called garum, which the Latin author Pliny the Elder in the Naturalis Historia describes to have been made from ‘intestinis piscium ceterisque, quae abicienda essent, sale maceratis’ which can be translated as ‘from the intestines of fish and various parts which would otherwise be thrown away, macerated in salt’.