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Ca. 4th Century BC

A magnificent Gnathian bell krater of imposing size, decorated with a colourful program that is characteristic of the Gnathian style. The krater is painted in a lavish black glaze and features a large, deep bowl adorned with two opposing lion-headed handles. The body tapers gracefully to a large, circular base, with a band at the bottom of the vessel left unglazed to create deliberate contrast. The sides of the krater expand sharply into a wide, flaring mouth. The rim and bottom of the mouth are again left unglazed, providing a striking contrast against the black glaze of the interior. The krater is decorated on one side with rows of red, yellow, and white pattern bands. The decorative program is comprised of a band of egg and dart, followed by a running zigzag motif, continued by a dotted band, with incised double lines in between each band. Beneath this, an intricately painted grapevine motif, with fruit clusters and tendrils extending above and below a red band and flowing down at either side. The other side features a subtle band of white decoration.

This krater is a fine example of ancient Gnathian ware. These vessels are named for the region of Gnathia in Apulia, a region in south-eastern Italy. They are concentrated mainly in the 4th century BC. For a similar example, see Christie’s, December 9, 2015, lot 32.


Provenance: Property of a London Ancient Art gallery; formerly in a private J.H. collection, Beaverton, Oregon, USA.


SKU: JUN23389
  • Dimensions

    L: 300mm / W: 385mm ; 2.75kg

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