Corinthian Black-Figured Alabastron

SKU: MS.0023

Origin: Mediterranean
Circa: c. 630 - 620 BC
Dimensions: 7.5" Height x 3.8" Width
Medium: Terracotta

The decoration, centered on a standing figure of the winged Artemis Potnia Theron, Mistress of Animals, is well conceived spatially, balancing the powerful goddess with swans with outstretched wings. The goddess wears an elaborately decorated tunic, grasping the neck of a swan in each hand and a single standing swan below a lotus bud, rosettes in the field, details in added purple on the back under the strap handle.

Dr Hans B. Jessen (1909-2007) collection, Germany, acquired 1960s-1970s

Repaired from several fragments, with minor infill and over-painting along the repair lines. Restored section to back of vessel, under handle, affecting tip of lotus bud, tip of swan's wing, and head and beak of swan under handle, and another restored section affecting the top half of the female figure's face and hair. Minor chips to edges of rim. Painted decoration with patches of flaking and wear overall, particularly to legs and lower bodies of the the two swans on the front and the rosette on underside of the base. Light nicks overall and minor crazing to the glaze. Some iron coloured surface staining to the lower body and to the chest area of the female figure. Light coloured dirt encrustation around and under rim.

Throughout the ancient Mediterranean Potnia Theron, Mistress of Animals, appears as a powerful female figure standing between two animals, grasping them in her hands either by their necks or legs. The animals most commonly depicted with her were lions, deer, and swan. During the archaic period she became associated with the goddess Artemis for her affiliation with wild animals. The depictions of Potnia Theron are concetrated to the early Greek periods of Orientalising and Arhcaic periods.

This Corinthian alabastron is a beautiful example of the eastern style's use of horror avacui seen during the Orientalising period, with its highly decorated surface and usually typified by a fine quality and small size.

For similar cf. J. Boardman, Early Greek Vase Painting, London, 1998, p. 179, nos 369 and 370.

Dr Hans B. Jessen was a German archaeologist working with the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut Berlin.



Corinthian Black-Figured Alabastron


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