Greek Xenon Ware Kylix with Laconian Hound, Southern Italy,…

Greek Xenon Ware Kylix with Laconian Hound, Southern Italy, Apulia, 325 BC

This is a beautiful kylix, a drinking cup, with two raised handles extending from near the rim and a pronounced foot. The black background has attained some iridescence from the firing process. A laurel leaf motif wraps the interior and exterior rims; in the center of the interior is a charmingly posed dog. All are in a pale orange/pink tone. This style of overpainting on blackware is known as Xenon ware, a uniquely Apulian version of an Attic style.

The dog has pointed ears, a long tail, and a body built for speed – this is the famous Laconian hound, the swift, Spartan dog known to be native to ancient Greece, used for hunting, guarding the home and livestock, and of course canine companionship.

Xenophon, the ancient Greek philosopher and military leader describes these dogs in detail in chapter 4 of Cynegeticus, his treatise about hunting with dogs.

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