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Work Anthropomorphic oinochoe (wine jug)

Department of Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities: Etruscan Art (9th-1st centuries BC)

Oenochoé anthropomorphe à décor gravé (incavo) : motifs géométriques et animaux

© 1996 RMN / Hervé Lewandowski

Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities
Etruscan Art (9th-1st centuries BC)

Astier Marie-Bénédicte

Stimulated by their links with Greece during the Orientalizing period, the Etruscans developed an art of their own, in which the human figure occupied an increasingly important place. This oinochoe with impasto decoration bears witness to the richness of the decorative repertoire. There is 'incavo' (hollow) decoration on the belly of the vessel: horsemen in silhouette and monsters or catlike creatures ranged next to geometric motifs from the decorative tradition of the preceding period.

Impasto ceramics

The shape of this triple-necked oinochoe with globular belly is paralleled in a great number of other examples discovered in southern Etruria and the Faliscan region around Civita Castellana (Falerii Veteres). This oinochoe was probably made in this area in the early Orientalizing period, circa 710-670 BC. It was shaped by hand and is made of a heavy, unrefined clay that is quite a coarse brown in color. Standing on two feet wearing ankle boots, the belly is decorated with geometric motifs and figures scratched into the surface of the clay; this type of decoration is denoted 'incavo' in Italian.

Decoration with animals and anthropomorphic figures

Meander patterns and elongated rectangles occupy the upper portion of this vessel. The lower part of the belly is decorated with four monsters or four horses with schematic human figures riding them or above them. The rest of the decoration consists of five catlike creatures with speckled fur and two large birds with spread wings. The geometric motifs fall within the decorative tradition of the preceding period.


Gran-Aymerich J., Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum, Musée du Louvre, vol. 23, 1992, p. 24-25, pl. 2 à 5.

Technical description

  • Oenochoé anthropomorphe à décor gravé (incavo) : motifs géométriques et animaux

    710 - 670 avant J.-C.

    Production : Étrurie méridionale ou territoire de Faléries (Civita Castellana)

  • Impasto

    H. : 39,60 cm. ; D. : 23 cm.

  • Collection Campana ?

    S 5047

  • Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities

    Denon wing
    Ground floor
    Etruria I
    Room 420
    Vitrine 3

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