Gnathia

Gnathia vases are a type of pottery belonging to ancient Apulian vase painting of the 4th century BC.

They are named after the ancient city of Gnathia (now Egnazia) in Eastern Apulia. There, the first examples of the style were discovered in the mid-19th century. Their production began in Apulia around 370/360 BC, in parallel to the local version of the red-figure style which developed tendencies towards polychromy around that time. Typical of Gnathia vases is the application of different paints directly onto the glazed vase body. Additionally, internal details could be added by incision. The themes depicted include erotes, images from the life of women, theatre scenes and dionysiac motifs. Figural, painting is often limited to the upper half of the vessel body, while the bottom half often bears only ornamental decoration. The most common shapes were bell kraters, pelikes, oinochoai and skyphoi.

Unlike local red-figure pottery, Gnathia vases were also traded to other regions of the Mediterranean and Black Sea areas. They had considerable influence on some local pottery styles, such as West Slope pottery. Gnathia vases were not only produced in Apulian, but also in Campanian, Paestan and Sicilian vase painting. In South Italy, only Lucanian vase painting did not generally imitate them. In Etruria, the Pocolum Class was produced by a vase painter who had emigrated from Southern Italy.