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Home > Auctions > 6th September 2022 > Roman Terracotta Jug of a Drunken Woman

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LOT 0118

GBP (£) 2,500 - 3,500
EUR (€) 2,990 - 4,180
USD ($) 3,050 - 4,260

Opening Bid
£2,250 (EUR 2,690; USD 2,741) (+bp*)

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Bid History: 0

A moulded terracotta jug formed as a seated, possibly drunken elderly woman; short neck and handle with deep decorative ridges, stylised detailing to the face and hair tied in a bun, wine-jug (lagynos) gripped in her arms and between her knees, detailing to folds of garments; her pierced ears were likely once adorned with earrings. 6 3/4 in. (346 grams, 17 cm high).

Acquired 1980s.
Ex B Lee North collection.
Accompanied by a positive thermoluminescence analysis report, sample no.N122e54 from Oxford Authentication.
Accompanied by an academic report by Dr. Raffaele D'Amato.
This lot has been checked against the Interpol Database of stolen works of art and is accompanied by AIAD certificate no.11312-188595.

Cf. Australian National University Classics Museum Catalogue, acquisition number 1987.04, for very similar; cf. Salomonson, J.W., ’Der Trunkenbold und die Trunkene Alte. Untersuchungen zur Herkunft, Bedeutung und Wanderung einiger plastischer Gefässtypen der römischen Kaiserzeit,’ in Bulletin Antieke Beschaving, 55, 1980, pp.65-135 and ‘Die trunkene Alte: eine afrikanischer Gefässtypus der mittleren Kaiserzeit. Überblick und allgemeine Bewertung des Materials,’ in Actes du colloque sur la céramique antique, Carthage 1980, Carthage, 1982, pp.197-212; cf. Yacoub, M., Le Musée du Bardo, (Tunis 1993) 275 fig.170, inv. I 115; cf. Hayes, J.W., Ancient Lamps in the Royal Ontario Museum I, (1980) 142, no.563, pl.57; Carandini, A., ‘Melanges d’Archéologie et d'Histoire’ in Ecole Française de Rome, 82, 1970, pp.781-3; Quevedo, A., ‘La "vieja borracha" : una nueva pieza minorasiática de época medioimperial en Cartagena,’ in Ex Officina Hispana, 2, 2010, pp.45-50, fig.3.

The motif of an old drunken woman corresponds to a well known Hellenistic repertoire. These jugs were produced in Africa and were widespread within the Empire. Recent analysis carried out on a North African bottle of the drink ‘anus’, found in an exceptional state of preservation in Valencia, concluded that the vessel contained a resin from the Pinocea family intended to waterproof the vessel, which probably contained vegetable oil.