About this artwork
This footed plate was made to serve succulent morsels of grilled seafood, like the fish, mollusks, and other creatures that are painted on their surfaces. Greece and Italy are peninsulas projecting into seas brimming with marine life. A primary source of protein, seafood was a basic staple of the ancient Mediterranean diet; it remains so today. Ancient vase painters so accurately captured the shapes and markings of the fish they depicted that it is possible to identify most of them by species. This example is decorated with two pairs of large fish. A scallop attached to an outer band of a decorative wave pattern in the center separates a gilt head, on the left, from a fish known as king of the mullets, on the right. Opposite them is a lettered perch confronting a scorpion fish. Details of their anatomy were drawn with dilute glaze. Around them are shells, a small fish, and other sea creatures.
This playful style of terra-cotta vase was produced during the 4th century BC. At the center of the plate is a trough that could have functioned to collect juices or serve sauces.
- Ancient Greek
- Fish Plate
- 400 AD–370 AD
- terracotta, decorated in the red-figure technique
- 5.1 × 34 × 34 cm (2 × 13 3/8 × 13 3/8 in.)
- Gift of Philip D. Armour and Charles L. Hutchinson