* An Exhibited Greek Daunian Terracotta Owl Kyathos, ca. 4th Century BCE


Daunian society was a mixture of native Italians and Greeks who had settled in the area. As early as the 6th century BC, Daunia was an extremely wealthy region as is evidenced by the rich grave goods from the urban centers of Canosa, Arpi, and Salapia among others. The shapes of the vessels remained strongly influenced by the Italians -- this one, for example, is a form of the Greek kyathos, or dipper, with a flat, long, looping handle, but the wideness of the strap is purely Daunian. The owl-face motif at the top, however, recalls Greek influence - owls were a common design motif and were symbols Athena (and also associated with Athens); here they are perhaps imitating Attic art or maybe just invoking a penchant for the goddess. Many Daunian vessels, like this one, were ornamented with bands of geometric decoration called listati. This particular example has squared-off and banded linear designs in black and red over a cream background. A distinctive and unique vessel. 

Dimensions: Diameter: 7 1/2 inches (19 cm), Height: 4 1/2 inches (11.43 cm)

Condition: Handle rejoined, with light surface scratching and slight wear to paint otherwise complete and in very good condition overall.

Provenance: Ex-Swiss collection acquired between 1950 - 1960

Exhibited:  University of Zurich, thereafter private Virginia collection.

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