Apulian Ceramic Guttos with Herakles Mask


A fine quality Ancient Greek blackware guttos with flared base, single loop handle, and flared spout which extends away from the body of the guttos. The centre features a mask of Herakles which has been modelled in low-relief. The glossy black finish and ribbed edges add further aesthetic value to the piece. This blackware guttos would have been used to refill an oil lamp, as well as providing decoration to a table.

Date: Circa 4th Century BC
Condition: Very fine condition.


SKU: EC-147 Category: Tags: , ,

Blackware guttos such as this would have been manufactured by a Greek community in Southern Italy – an area 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. The pottery from the area is easily recognisable by its lustrous black glaze.

In Ancient Greek mythology,  Herakles was famed for his strength, as well as for his far-ranging adventures. As punishment for the frenzied killing of his family, Herakles was ordered to undertake twelve tasks. The first task was to free the inhabitants of the city of Nemea in Greece from a vicious lion – the so called Nemean lion. With his supernatural strength, Herakles strangled the lion with his bare hands, and dressed in its skin thereafter – Herakles’ own head peeking out of the lion’s gaping jaws. Thus, a lion’s skin was one of Herakles’ attributes, which makes him easily recognizable on vases and other depictions. Widely considered to be the greatest of Greek heroes, Herakles is often depicted with a heightened masculine physique.

To find out more about different types of Greek vessel please see our relevant blog post: Collecting Greek Vases.

Weight 116 g
Dimensions H 5 cm



Pottery and Porcelain

Greek Mythology

Reference: For a similar item, The Met Museum, item 1972.11.3