TITLE: Jar CULTURE: Roman PERIOD: 3rd Century AD MATERIAL: Terra Sigillata DIMENSIONS: Height 11 cm REF: 20141627 PRICE: 2,400 Euros PROVENANCE: Private collection of A. Alonso, Salamanca. Formed between 1960 and 1980. Acquired from an English collection.CONDITION: Intact, except for a small repair to the rim and five nicks on the surface. DESCRIPTION: A base with a wide spherical body that grows narrower towards the upper opening, to the mouth of the vessel which has a flat lip extending outward. There is a decorated handle with floral motifs on one side of the body. On the opposite side to the handle there is a vegetal wreath. This is joined at both ends with lanceolated leaves. On either side the vase is decorated with a shell. On one side this is placed above a bull and on the other the shell is above a “tabula ansata” on which was written the name of the potter. All the decoration is in relief as is usual with this type of material. The body sits on a round, elevated base which displays an incisión on the underside.
The distinctive form, the type of production and the decoration all indicate that it was produced in the zone of the north of Africa, possibly around Tunis. A great quantity of vases of this type were exported from here to places all around the Mediterranean.
The material used for modelling this vase was terra sigillata, which was a distinctive Roman pottery material with a glossy red color, often adorned with seals. The meaning of 'terra sigillata' is 'clay bearing little images' (Latin sigilla). We find these pieces from the 1st Century BC to the 3rd Century AD approximately.
Although in Greece some speciments with these characteristics existed, the beginnings of their history is in Tuscany (Italy), specifically in Arezzo, where potters adopted this style and developed it with the use of relief decoration. Those produced in Italica were protected by an antiadherent red glaze. Later pieces were of greater quality, of a finer and harder clay, and were darker with an ochre or earth-coloured glaze.