South Italian Gnathian Epichysis

£ 975.00

A fine Greek vase originating from the South Italian region of Apulia, produced in the classic Gnathian style. The vessel is modelled in light clay with a shiny black gloss covering the whole surface except a band around the lower section. The body is enriched with an elaborate geometric and floral decoration rendered in white and pale orange pigment. The decoration comprises of vines with leaves, alternating in colour between white and pale orange and also small dots, possibly representing berries. Below the foliage scene are two flowers and a row of small dots. The lower body and neck are decorated with the same pattern; a horizontal band of ovolo with incised lines bordering the design. A protruding moulded head terminal has been placed at the point of separation between the handle and the pouring spout on either side, to further enrich the composition.

Date: Circa 4th Century BC
Condition: Fine condition, repairs to the spout, crack across the upper part of the handle.


The epichysis was used in Ancient Greece for pouring substances such as wine or oil. The slender and concaved neck allowed the wine to be distributed with a level of control. This beautiful epichysis displays typical elements of the Gnathian style, which originated from Apulia and consisted of a number of colours painted on top of a glossy, dark background. The main colours used included red, white and yellow, but in some instances the colour palate widened to purple. White became the dominant colour after 330 BC when painting in this style and a ribbed body was also common in later styles. The more commonly seen body of an epichysis usually features a cylindrical box shape, in comparison to the pyriform shape used in this example.

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

Weight 226.6 g
Dimensions W 7.2 x H 17.7 cm

Pottery and Porcelain


Reference: For a similar item,The Brooklyn Museum, item 1994.209.6

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