PERIOD: 3rd Century AD
MATERIAL: Terra Sigillata
DIMENSIONS: Height 19.5 cm
PRICE: 2,400 Euros
PROVENANCE: Private collection of A. Alonso, Salamanca. Formed between 1960 and 1980. Acquired from an English collection.
CONDITION: Intact. The handle has been reattached. There is a hole in the base.
A vase with a globular body, an arched handle, a flat rim and a long narrow neck decorated with a flat moulding. Decorating the body are various scenes with dieties and other persons placed below arches with vegetal decoration, all in relief and separated by vertical palmettes.
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.