Lot 35

A monumental Apulian funerary hydria with Naiskos scene, mid-4th century B.C.

Works of Art, Antiquities, Asian and Russian Art | A94kua | Live auction | 479 Lots


Cylindrical foot with a wide base plate, the rim of which is profiled. Above it, above a groove, the ovoid belly, which is rounded at the top but still clearly breaks into a conical, minimally retracted shoulder. This merges with a barely perceptible step into the double conical, inwardly drawn neck, which is finished off by a plate-shaped rim, which has a profiled, downwardly sloping and slightly overhanging rim lip. In the upper section of the belly, two opposite, horizontal handles round in section with upwardly drawn sides. Behind the face, in the middle between the two horizontal belly handles, a vertical handle, round in section, running in an arc from the neck, directly under the rim, to the shoulder, directly above the border to the belly. Within the area enclosed by the belly handles, two so-called "firing holes", which, however, may have served more to fasten funeral ornaments such as ribbons or garlands. The vessel covered with a lush red-figure painting. The belly below with a black zone, above a meander. Above it the pictorial zone. The front shows a two-columned funerary temple (naiskos) above a pedestal with a wavy vine, the pediment decorated with acroteres. Inside the temple is the lady identified as the deceased by white paint. She wears a diadem, is dressed in a chiton and sits on a folding stool. She is flanked by two servants, also in white, one holding an open box, the other a fan. This group of figures corresponded to real existing funerary statuettes or a funerary relief. On the side, four female figures, the upper seated, the lower standing, in red colour. They are holding various objects in their hands, including boxes and distaffs, or their activities are characterised by attributes painted freely in the field. Although their gaze is turned towards the naiskos, these female figures show no signs of pain or sadness, but are rather impassive and neutrally fixated on their actions. The red colour marks them as "alive" and they probably do not stand for relatives of the dead but for active women in an otherworldly sphere to which the deceased is to be transferred. Behind the front between the handles and on the back fully applied red palmettes on a black ground. The neck decorated by a wreath of white and red leaves with a flower at the front above the gable of the naiskos. An ionic cymation on the lip of the rim. A splendid example of Apulian funerary pottery of exceptional size with richly detailed illustrations. Completely reassembled from sherds. Minor repairs to the painting at the breakage points. Height 70 cm. Width 50 cm.

Provenance: From a German private collection, subsequently in a German gallery, then auctioned at Christie's, New York. With Italian export licence from January 2021.

Condition: II Questions about the lot?

General Information

The post-auction sales to our "Works of Art, Antiquities, Asian and Russian Art" auction from October 22, 2022 has already started, and will run all the way through November 30, 2022. Until then you can purchase all unsold lots at the starting price plus the buyers premium.