Apulia is a region in southern Italy and it was populated by a vast 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’. These Greek colonies were instrumental in bringing Greek culture and thought to Italy, greatly influencing Roman literature, philosophy, and material culture in turn. “Xenon Ware” refers to a particular variety of Apulian pottery which features matte red decoration added on a glossy black background. Xenon ware commonly features geometric, abstract and floral designs as opposed to animals or human figures. The term “Xenon Ware” comes from a kantharos displayed in a Frankfurt museum which bears the word XENON and was the basis for categorisation of this type of Apulian pottery.
Apulian Greek Xenon Ware Kantharos
An extremely fine Ancient Greek “Xenon Ware” kantharos, decorated with panels on each side in matte red pigment against a glossy black background. One side displays a vine of ivy leaves and an upper band of stylised palmettes, while the other features a meander pattern below another band of palmettes. The vessel itself has a globular body, supported by a flared base, with two tall arched handles on either side. The rim is flared and joins smoothly to the handles, which feature two moulded theatre masks. The glossy finish and the contrast of the added matte red pigment on the black background make for a striking piece.
Condition: Very fine, with some minor loss of pigment.