Measurements: 10.5 cm – height, 8 cm – width


A small blackware terracotta glazed thistle mug (so called after its resemblance to a thistle in shape) from Gnathia, a Greek colony in southern Italy. The vessel features a round body, an handle reaching from neck to shoulder and an everted rim. The neck is painted with geometric lines and ovolo motif. Lightly incised grooves on body, finished off in a high black gloss. Base set on narrow, slightly raised foot. This thistle mug exhibits one of the key traits of Italic pottery painting – polychromy – as is evidenced by the use of white and ochre against the jug’s glossy black finish.


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 glazed ware pottery and for its polychromatic decoration – often using shades of white, ochre and red.


Period: Circa 4th Century BC


Condition: Fine, with some signs of aging on the surface.

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