Incised Black Figure Greek Bowl

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Originally, this artifact would have had two handles, and most likely a stemmed foot making it a cup. Based on comparative analysis of its form, there are similarities in its overall design with other well-documented cups. Dating to the first quarter of the 5th century BCE, this ancient Greek vessel is complete with palmette motifs, and figurative mythological scenes. The black figures are accentuated by their incised detailing outlining their figures painted in black slip. These aspects could mean that this type of cup would have functioned as a decorative and utilitarian piece in ancient Greek life.


Conservation History

Initial Condition

This vessel has the consistent features of many artifacts in the Diniacopoulos collection. It has previous restoration work with old adhesive that is now failing, and in fifteen fragments. This cup had been reassembled using shellac, but remained incomplete due to missing handles and base pieces. Surface damage included discoloration to the decorative features, and fading.

Conservation Treatment

To remove prior restoration work with shellac, pyridine was used. This chemical treatment did not harm the painted surfaces. For reassembly the sherds were primed with Paraloid B72 (5%) and then successfully reassembled with a stronger concentration of this adhesive. To complete the vessel’s rim, in filling and in painting were applied to simulate the original appearance.


0. Identification: AA1711

1. Institution: Department of Classics; Art Conservation, Queen’s University  (Kingston, Ontario, Canada)

2. Identification references: AA1711

3.1. Category: decorative object; archaeological artifact

3.2. Designation: bowl or cup

3.3. Name: Incised Black Figure Greek Bowl

3.4. Details: Diniacopoulos Collection

4.2. Description of iconography: palmettes; female musicians; male figures; horses or centaurs

4.3. Iconographic analysis: Mythical allegories.

5.1. Material: clay; black slip

5.2. Technique:  painted; hand thrown

6.1. Unit: cm

6.5. Diameter: di Lip 2 cm wide, Reserved Band 7 cm wide

6.7. Form: missing base; open convex body; rounded lip; missing handle appendages ?

7.1. Manner of discovery:  acquired by Vincent and Olga Diniacopoulos

7.2. Place of discovery: Mediterranean Basin

8.3. Region, style, workshop: Greek

9.1. Inscription or Mark “Type”:  incision

9.2. Position: exterior

9.3. Description of transcription: incised black decorative figures

10.2. Epoch: First quarter of 5th century BCE

11.1. Acquisition method: donation

11.2. Date of acquisition: 2001

11.3. Previous owner: Diniacopoulos, Olga