The bands of decoration on the neck and shoulder of the epichysis consist of a white dotted egg-pattern, a red and white fillet, and a white scrolling tendril. A vine of grapes comprises the primary decoration on the body of the vessel. The branch of the vine is represented by a horizontal red line, with bunches of grapes, leaves, and tendrils painted in white above and below, with washes of yellow to give the effect of shading. Below this is band of egg dot-pattern with rows of dots painted above. Incised double lines separate the bands of decoration, and incision frames the egg-patterns. The roughly modeled female faces on both sides of the juncture of the handle and mouth are typical for this teardrop-shaped epichyses.
The grape motif is associated with Dionysos, the god of wine and the symposium, as well as the mysteries, which promised its initiates a better life in the hereafter. Their depiction likely reminded the user of the vessel of the benefits of wine, whether consumed during their lifetime at a symposium, or as an accompaniment for their journey into the afterlife.
The early Greek colonists of south Italy imported their pottery from Athens until the end of the 5th century B.C., after which they began to produce their own vases to supplement imported ware. Although heavily influenced by the styles and shapes of Athenian pottery, South Italian vases possess their own unique qualities.
Highly decorative Gnathian vases are among the most fascinating ceramics of South Italian pottery production. Gnathian pottery is usually painted in polychrome with motifs silhouetted against a simple, dark background of black glaze. The majority of the vases are decorated with purely ornamental designs of florals and patternwork. Although named after the place of their first discovery on the Adriatic coast of Apulia, at the site of Egnazia (ancient Gnathia), there is no evidence that they were made there, but most examples are of Apulian origin. This pottery type seems to have been invented at Taranto during the second quarter of the 4th century B.C., after which production spread to several centers in Apulia and continued into the 3rd century B.C.
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