Amphoriskos

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This is a small Italo-Greek vase with a shiny black glaze, in the form of an amphoriskos (small amphora). It corresponds to the 1159 form from the Agora according to the classification of Sparkes and Talcott (1970:156), and can be dated to the end of the 5th or beginning of the 4th century BC.

It is a very small unguentarium which imitates the form of an amphora used to transport wine, while not specifically copying any particular type of this vessel. The mouth has the characteristic form of perfume vases such as the lekythoi or askoi, whose design allowed small quantities of precious liquid to be poured in a controlled manner: perfumes and balms were generally imported from distant lands, which made the product very expensive. The small diameter of the neck makes it easy to plug it with a piece of cork, sponge or, at times, a stopper. The amphoriskos needs a stand to support it as its small foot is not functional. It has two handles that fall from the neck to the shoulders of the vessel, and through which a cord could be passed that that it could hang from a belt or be hung on a wall.

These vessels are usually decorated with stamped motifs, as in the present case. There is a circular band of petals around the neck, followed by a line of dots and a garland of inverted palm branches next to an incised line which marks off the shoulders of the vessel. On the body we can see three bands of small dots which border another garland of palm branches. This is inverted so that it creates a mirror effect with the motif decorating the lower third of the body. Diminutive palmettes decorate the surface of the base.

While it is true that this model became popular in Magna Graecia, it in fact originated in the Attic zone. Diverse examples from this region can be found conserved in various museums.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

- P. V.C. BAUR. Catalogue of the Rebecca Darlington Stoddard Collection of Greek and Italian Vases at Yale University. New Heaven. 1992.
- GURINA, Marina. Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum.
- Espagne. Musée d´Eivissa-Fascicule I. Espagne-Fascicule 6. Institut Estudis Catalans. Barcelona. 1987. p. 21, lám. 12, nº 3.
- HAYES J. Greek and Italian Black-Gloss wares and related wares in the Royal Ontario Museum. Toronto. 1984. no. 40 p. 26.
- SPARKES, B. A. y TALCOTT, L. The Athenian Agora, Vol. 12, Black and Plain Pottery of the 6th, 5th and 4th centuries BC. Princeton. 1970. p. 156 y 317.
- TRIAS DE ARRIBAS, G. Cerámicas Griegas de la Península Ibérica. The William L. Bryant Foundation. Valencia. 1967-68. p. 217, nº 746, lám. CXXV, 11.

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