South Italian black-gloss 'Calenian' guttus (jug) with Medusa head - ROM2018_16897_76


South Italian black-gloss 'Calenian' guttus (jug) with Medusa head

Medium:Wheel-thrown earthenware, slip-dipped with applied relief
Geography: Made in Apulia, Italy; found in the tombs of the Foggia region, probably Ordona, Italy
Date: Late 4th to early 3rd century BC
Period: Hellenistic period
9.0 cm height
Object number: 968.11.5
Not on view

A guttus is a small enclosed jug often with a strainer at the mouth to filter out impurities and a narrow spout to control the flow of liquid. It may have held oil to be used as a poured libation, for bathing, or to fill oil lamps.

This guttus does not have a mouth with a strainer but would be filled through the spout. Its closed top is decorated with a medallion with a shallow relief decoration of the head of the Gorgon Medusa. This type of black-gloss pottery is known as Calenian ware, named after the South Italian of Cales. Although made of ceramic it is inspired by metal vessels and imitates metal-ware shapes and decorations, while the glossy black sheen resembles tarnished silver. 

This guttus is from a South Italian tomb and it has been suggested that this shape of guttus is only used for burials.

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