An absolutely huge Daunian thymiaterion (incense burner), measuring no less than 43.7 cm and dating to the early 3rd century BC (Daunian III). The shape of this specimen is type A2 according to the classification of Zaccagnino (1998, p. 67-84, esp. p. 68-70; pl. 2 on p. 214).
This pottery object was matt-painted, as was customary for Daunian art. The lower part, or base, displays a net-like design of crossing lines between two bands of waves. The upper part has a decoration of seven friezes, the top one containing waves and the others with vegetal and geometric decoration (such as ivy, metopes with saltires (Saint Andrew’s crosses) and ovolo). The bowl is decorated with a rosette surrounded by dots and nets, with metopes with saltires on the rim.
A stunningly large and beautifully decorated object.
Thymiateria were first mentioned in literary sources in the fifth century B.C. (Herodotus, Histories, IV, 162, 8-10) (see Zaccagnino 1998, p. 41-42, p. 105).
For a very similar thymiaterion see Douwe Yntema, The Matt-Painted Pottery of Southern Italy. A General Survey of the Matt-Painted Pottery Styles of Southern Italy During the Final Bronze Age and the Iron Age (diss. Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Utrecht, 1985), p. 390, fig. 295.
For the type of object see: Cristiana Zaccagnino, Il thymiaterion nel mondo Greco: analisi delle fonti, tipologia, impieghi (Studia Archeologica, 97) (Roma, L’Erma di Bretschneider, 1998).
Early 3rd century B.C. (Daunian III).
Height 43.7 cm, diameter of bowl 12.2 cm. max., diameter of foot 14 cm.
German private collection of Dr. W.E., Baden-Württemberg (ca. 1970-1990).
Intact. Substantial traces of several colours remaining (among them pink, red and orange); in particular the pink colour lights up when viewed under a black light, but this is not an indication of recent overpainting, all paint is ancient. Cosmetic restoration only to a few minor chips (ca. 5 mm maximum) on the rim of the bowl and on the upper rim of the foot; some encrustation, deposits and unimportant surface wear; a few small sections of the paint slightly faded away, as shown on the photographs. Overall in excellent condition. An impressive piece!