This type of Greek pot is perhaps one of the most common in the ancient world. These jugs were used for various religious and everyday purposes. For example, they would have been used daily for the serving of drinks such as wine and water. However, they were also used in the Greek act of ‘libation.’ This was a religious practice of prayer where prayers were recited as wine, honey or oil was poured from an Oinochoe to a Patera.


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c. 4th century BC. Greek. Beautiful terracotta oinochoe with a red-brown base and black foot, an almost spherical black body that tapers into a slender neck, with images of grapes and vines on the body dangling beneath rows of geometric patterns in white and yellow on one side of the neck, with an everted rim above. It has a thin trefoil mouth and spout in the shape of a triangle that allowed its contents to be poured in three decorations at crowded parties, with a handle extending from there down to the body. Oinochoe were used for distributing wine, particularly at parties and gatherings. The form and the application of paint directly onto the glazed body are typical of Gnathian style from the heel of Italy. The vine motifs signify the function of the vase (although by this period an oinochoe could be used for drinks other than wine as well) and are reminiscent of the Dionysiac imagery commonly found on Gnathian pottery.

Size: L:185mm / W:90mm ; 310g

Provenance: From the private collection of a Somerset gentleman; previously in an old British collection, formed in the 1980s on the UK /European art markets.

Learn more here about Ancient Greek Pottery

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