White ground lagynos

Hellenistic period, 3rd century B.C.
H. 14.9 cm (5 55⁄64 in)

Private collection, Switzerland, acquired in 1988
Thence by descent to the current owner

Susan I. Rotroff
Hellenistic pottery. Atheniand and imported wheelmade table ware and related Material, in: The Athenian Agora, vol. 29, 1997, 127, 226-229, pl. 49, 115-117

With high cylindrical neck, bent handle at a right angle and biconical body; decorated with four garlands and taeniae suspended from fibula

The lagynos was a wine pot used in banquets, and particularly popular during the Hellenistic age. A passage attributed to Eratosthenes, cited by Athenaeus (VII, 276a-c), describes a feast established by Ptolemy IV Filopatore called ‘Lagynophoria’. This banquet was held in Alexandria to honour Dionysus, and each participant would drink wine from his own lagynos. The canonical motifs consists of wreaths, olive bows, baskets, and lagynoi themselves painted in a thinned orange-brown slip on a white ground.

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