This beautifully decorated water vessel (Hydria) portrays fierce Greek colonists and Samnite warriors clashing in the height of battle. The Greeks, wearing greaves, shields and flying cloaks, fight Samnite warriors identified by their distinctive white tunics and iconic broad belts. All warriors wear helmets and carry weapons including swords, spears, axes, and clubs.
Water vessels such as this example were used at Greek symposiums to water down wine as it was considered uncivilized to consume undiluted wine. No doubt this battle scene would have been used to recount historical events, celebrate battle wins and/or commiserate losses.
The manufacture of South Italian vases reached its zenith between 350 and 320 B.C., then gradually tapered off in quality and quantity until just after the close of the fourth century B.C.
Published: K. Schauenburg, Studien zur unteritalischen Vasenmalerei, vol. XIIXII, Kiel, 2008, pl. 183 a-c. and Royal Athena Galleries, Art of the Ancient World, XIV, 2014.
Cf. amphora, ex-Hope Collection, in the LACMA by the Ixion Painter, with a similar scene.
Condition: Minor wear to the rim and professionally rejoined and in very good condition overall.
Dimensions: Height: 23 3/8 inches (59.4 cm)
Provenance: Ex-private collection, Munich, Germany, 1980-early 1990s.