Pair of South Italian Xenon Miniature SkyphoiCirca Mid 4th Century BC
Description: Two thin-walled miniature skyphoi with deep tapered bowl and delicate horizontal handles. Each is decorated with a laurel wreath (symbol of victory) border above and below by a single band with vertical rays around the rim. Some of the design on item a) has faded. Item b) has nice bright design.
Height: a): 1.75 in. (4.5 cm) b): 1.6 in. (4.1 cm)
Condition: Both are intact except a chip from the foot of item b).
Provenance: Both were formerly in a private British collection.
Reference: See The Art of South Italy: Vases from Magna Graecia (Virginia Museum 1982) by Margaret Ellen Mayo, no. 159 for the type.
Background: Xenon pottery was a school of regional pottery in Apulia. Unique in style, these vases strayed from normal conventions in Greek vase-painting in that the vessels would be almost completely covered in a thick black slip and then the decorations would be applied in a characteristic pinkish color directly onto the black surface lacking incised detail.