A Campanian Black-Glazed Guttus with Lion Head Spout

Date: 350 – 330 B.C.
Measurements: 2 in. High (5 cm.), 4 3/4 in. Wide (12 cm.)
Condition: Intact , excellent preserving most of its original glaze.
Provenance: Bavarian collection acquired 1982; New York private collection since 2012

In the Classical world, even the most common household object could be touched with elegance and beauty. This charming vessel was used to pour oil into lamps that illuminated wealthy homes during the height of antiquity. The oil was filtered through the bottom central hole, and then poured out through the lion-headed spout. As we place our forefinger through the handle we are aware of ancient hands, forgotten by time, which held it just as we do. We make the gesture of pouring oil into a lamp and suddenly a room, a house, then an entire world comes alive in our imagination. Through such a simple action, we link ourselves intimately to the past. The central circular disk decorated with a standing nude male and a shielded warrior.


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