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, such as the grapes and vines on this vessel. Epichysis were used in Ancient Greece for pouring liquids, such as wine and oil. The liquid could be distributed with a degree of control, due to the slender concave neck. The rounded body of this example is unusual for an epichysis, as they normal feature a cylindrical box shape.
To learn more about Greek pottery, please visit our relevant blog post: Styles and Uses of Greek Pottery.