Magna Graecian Terracotta Kantharoid Vessel


An ancient Greek small , black-glazed terracotta kantharoid vessel produced in Southern Italy. The vessel features a conical foot from which the globular body raises and narrows at the neck, then splays out into a wide mouth. Two handles have been attached from the mid-body to the vessel’s rim, and extend well above the rim. The majority of the piece is coated with a black glaze, however now dulled due to age, from its lower body up to the top, including the inside of the rim. Five slip marks, most likely finger marks, are visible on the body’s undecorated bottom and the foot suggest the glaze might have been applied by dipping.

Please take note of the measurements.

Date: Circa 6th-4th century BC
Provenance: Ex PA private collection, London, acquired in 1980s.
Condition: Fine condition. Earthly encrustations to the surface. Dulling and fading of glaze due to age. Hairline crack to the foot.


SKU: CY-162 Category: Tag:

From the 8th century BC onwards, southern Italy was populated by a vast number of Greek colonies, so much so that the Romans referred to the area as Magna Graecia – ‘Great Greece’. These Greek colonies were instrumental in bringing Greek culture to Italy, greatly influencing Roman literature, philosophy, and material culture in turn. Greek pottery from Southern Italy, especially in the Apulia region, is most characteristically defined by the glossy black finish, which would have been seen on this piece.

This vessel resembles the feature of a ‘kantharos’, a form of Greek drinking vessel with two distinctive high handles. The ‘kantharos’ are mostly used for ritualistic consumption of wine, or for pouring libations. On account of this religious significance, the kantharos became a familiar attribute of the god of wine, Dionysus, who was also associated with vegetation and fertility.

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

Weight 187.4 g
Dimensions L 11.5 x W 9.0 x H 10.5 cm

Pottery and Porcelain


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