This kantharos is generous in size and gracefully proportioned. The form is wheel made from very fine, buff colored clay with the bowl and foot thrown as a single piece. The arching strap handles that rise above the rim would have been fashioned separately and then attached before firing. Small “spurs” project from the lower part of the handles, and flat bars connect the upper part of the handles with the rim of the vase, creating a volute-like profile. The body of the cup is standard with a thin everted rim, ridged offset base, and a torus ring foot.
Private Collection, France.
Published: Drouoto-Richelieu, Antiquities, September 25, 1998, lot 187.
The kantharos shape in Greek pottery can be traced back to the 8th century BC, and it is believed to have mimicked the form of contemporary metal vessels, providing a less expensive, easier to produce version of similar cups in gold, silver, and bronze. In fact, the black glaze technique, which produced a glossy monochrome surface, is though to have been aimed at reproducing the surface effect of silver vessels. Judging from the shape, our piece appears to be a Type D kantharos, also known as a sessile kantharos, characterized by its lack of a stem, torus disk foot, and strap handles. This shape was made and used throughout Greece, the main areas of production for the black glaze variants being Attica and the region of Boeotia, just northeast of the Gulf of Corinth. The reddish color of the fabric of our vessel suggests that it may be of Attic manufacture.