Height: 17.000 cm
Room 70: Roman Empire
Vase in the form of a male grotesque head
Roman, 2nd-3rd centuries
From Knidos, modern Turkey
A cruel caricature?
This particular vase is a type of pottery
called Knidian Relief Ware, which was manufactured in large
quantities in and around Cnidus in south-east Turkey. The vase was
made by pressing clay into two a two-part mould, joining the two
halves, then adding the details of the beard and eyebrows by hand.
The vase was then immersed in a bath of
pottery became very popular in the Hellenistic and early Roman
periods, with several centres, in particular along the western
coast of Turkey, producing vases in the shape of people or animals.
Cruelly caricatured representations of people were a very popular
motif in pottery vases, as indeed they were in other areas of art,
for example sculpture and
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