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A Black glazed Gnathian-ware kylix, ca. mid 4th century BC

A graceful and elegant cup used for wine. The wide shallow body sits on a low disc foot with convex bottom that externally incorporates a narrow band.  There are hints of iridescence to the fine black glaze applied to both the interior and exterior, the latter further features a delicate grape motif between the round-sectioned II-shaped handles, attached to the body just below the flared rim. 

Background:  This beautiful cup belongs to an important group called “Gnathian” style. The term “Gnathian”, which is applied to this class of painted ceramic, is derived from the ancient town of Gnathia (now Egnazia), on coast of Puglia, where ceramics decorated with this technique were first found. Other excavations show that the main center of production was situated further to the south, most likely in Tarento, the most important economic and artistic community in the region. From there the production of vases in the Gnathian style spread to other parts of the Greek world. This term could be applied to ceramics coming from other regions, such as Campania, Lucania or Sicily. Gnathian ware appears to have been produced for some two hundred years, from the mid-4th century B.C. until around 270 B.C. The exact time line varies from region to region.

Gnathian ware is characterized by the large use of polychrome over-painting with the design motifs in white, purple and golden yellow, over a ground covered by black varnish. All of the colors are applied to the clay before firing. The desired effect of these ceramics was to imitate the form and high gloss of vases worked in metal recipient, which were much more valuable.

Condition :  Intact and in excellent condition overall.

Dimensions: Height: 3 inches (8 cm), Diameter: 7 inches (18 cm) 

Provenance:  Copeland private collection, UK acquired through the London art market in 2011 and thereafter on loan to the Michael C. Carlos museum Emory University, loan number:  L2011.026.001

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