Ariadne Galleries

Black-Glazed Fluted Oinochoe with Sgraffito Motif
Period: Third century BC
Culture: Alexandrian
Material: Terracotta
Dimensions: 33.3 cm H
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This vessel in black glaze has a flat base, disk rim and a handle that extends away from the body, typical of the oinochoe form. The long slender neck that expands into the body is finely decorated with an undulating motif rendered in ‘sgraffito’ technique.


While many Greek vases were highly decorated, an equal number were ornamented primarily with molded decoration. Those familiar with pottery from the Greek mainland and colonies and accustomed to black- and red-figured painting techniques might be surprised to see a black-glaze vessel. In fact, the same workshops that produced figured and narrative vessels also made a variety of monochromatic black wares. Some of these replicated standard vase shapes while others reproduced some of the most luxurious vessels of the time. These were of precious metals; with a particular preference for “patinated silver” that was a deep, yet lustrous, grayish black. The metallic forms were particularly lyrical, rising on relatively small bases, and spreading into broad body. These shapes seem to grow and stretch upward with handles shaped and placed to create an expansive feeling. Ribbing and stamped decoration were common in metallic designs as were elaborate handles and molded attachments.



Private Collection, France.

Published: Drouot-Richelieu, Archeologie, September 30, 1999, lot 324.