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Sigillata jug


Height: 15.000 cm

GR 1873.8-20.514 (Vases L 56)

Room 69: Greek and Roman life

    Sigillata jug

    Roman, AD 1-25
    Made in Cincelli, near Arezzo, Italy

    Arretine Ware

    The lower body of the jug is decorated with motifs in sharp relief. Contained within two horizontal bands of concentric circles is a zig-zag pattern of straight festoons with rosettes at the angles. Above the festoons are ivy leaves and rosettes, while below are straight elongated leaves and tendrils. In the upper part of the decoration is a name stamp of P. Cornelius, one of the most famous 'Arretine' potters of the period. The pottery jug's debt to metalwork can be seen in details of the form, such as the foot, the high, arching handle and in particular the way in which the handle is attached to the body.

    Italian sigillata is widely known as Arretine Ware because of the concentration of early production at Arezzo in Tuscany. It was almost certainly inspired by imported Red Slip Wares such as Eastern sigillata from Syria. Production seems to have begun just after the middle of the first century BC and to have boomed throughout the Augustan period (about 30 BC-AD 15). Early products of very high quality showed the strong influence of metal vessels. Closed forms such as this jug, and large, chalice-shaped drinking vessels and beakers, were all made using moulds attached to the potter's wheel and were decorated with fine relief decoration. Production took place on a quasi-industrial scale in groups of workshops in and around centres such as Arezzo and Pisa.

    J.W. Hayes, Handbook of Mediterranean Roma (London, The British Museum Press, 1997)

    S. Walker, Roman art (London, 1991)

    P. Roberts, 'Mass-production of Roman fine wares' in Pottery in the making: world-5 (London. The British Museum Press, 1997), pp. 188-93


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