Ancient Greek Gnathian Stemless Kylix

£ 475.00

An ancient Greek terracotta stemless kylix, covered in black glaze and polychromy decorations on its outer surface. The drinking bowl has a convex body, forming a shallow bowl, that is covered in a rich, dark glossy glaze. There are two D-shaped handles to each side, which have become worn slightly with age. The bowl itself rests on a small foot ring base. One side of the vessel is is decorated with white paint, forming a fishbone pattern. The other side presents geometrical patterns, with a band of alternating rectangular motifs of burgundy and white, flanked by two parallel ochre lines. The checkerboard motif is common on Gnathian pottery. There is some wear to the black glaze, exposing sections of the terracotta.

Date: Circa 330 - 300 BC
Provenance: Ex K. Furness collection, acquired by descent from her mother. Circa 1950s onwards.
Condition: Fine condition, in some parts the glaze has faded and some small chips consistent with age.


Southern Italy was 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. The pottery attributed to the Gnathia style is so termed after the site of Gnathia (present-day Egnazia), which is located on the Adriatic coast of Apulia. Gnathia ware was famed for its glossy black slip pottery and for its polychromatic decoration – often using shades of white, ochre and red. After 330 BC, white paint became predominant. The Gnathian style incorporated a range of scenes, including images from the lives of women, erotic meetings, theatrical scenes, and Dionysian motifs. Kylixs are the most common type of wine-drinking cup. The primary use for the kylix was drinking wine (usually mixed with water, and sometimes other flavourings) at a symposium or male “drinking party” in the ancient greek world.

To learn more about Greek pottery, please visit our relevant blog post: Styles and Uses of Greek Pottery.

Weight 126.1 g
Dimensions L 18 x W 11 x H 4.5 cm



Southern Europe

Reference: For a similar item: The Getty Museum, LA, item 76.AE.50