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HOME : Classical Antiquities : Apulian : Apulian Red-Figure Raised Plate
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Apulian Red-Figure Raised Plate - PF.6180
Origin: Magna Graecia
Circa: 400 BC to 300 BC
Dimensions: 2.25" (5.7cm) high x 9.5" (24.1cm) depth
Collection: Classical
Style: Apulian
Medium: Terracotta

Location: United States
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In an overview of Ancient Greek pottery, perhaps no single style is as charming as the works originating from the Italian province of Apulia. The Greek colonies of southern Italy (known in antiquity as Magna Grecia) were marked by their initial allegiance to the ceramic styles of the Attic mainland. However, over the years, native traditions and innovations heavily influenced the works of Magna Grecian potters. Unorthodox forms and painting-styles were seamlessly merged with the standard Greek style, creating distinctive works of art unique to the Hellenistic world.

This shallow plate, slightly elevated upon a squat base, would have made an elegant piece of tableware in an ancient banquet or ceremonial feast. The center is filled by the depiction of a beautiful woman adorned with jewelry. Her hair has been carefully styled and gathered into a small bun at the top of her head held together by a lace ribbon that sways in the breeze. Depicted in profile, this woman is clearly a classy, sophisticated socialite or a beautiful goddess. Three concentric decorative bands frame this image, further enhancing the beauty of this plate. Long ago, this gorgeous work of art would not have been housed behind glass in a museum, but would have been a functional, practical piece of tableware appreciated as much for its decoration as its functional form. We can imagine famous philosophers, celebrated athletes, and wealthy merchant eating off of it. Perhaps a work of such beauty served instead as a display piece, covered in tropical fruits and other savory treats. Today, when we hold this Apulian plate in our hands, admiring its graceful form and charming painted decorations, we marvel at the mastery of the ancient artists in much the same way as the ancients did themselves.
- (PF.6180)


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