Fish Plate

A work made of terra-cotta, decorated in the red-figure technique.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of terra-cotta, decorated in the red-figure technique.

Date:

about 400/370 BC

Artist:

Greek; Athens

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.

On View

Ancient and Byzantine Art, Gallery 151

Artist

Ancient Greek

Title

Fish Plate

Origin

Athens

Date

400 BC–370 BC

Medium

Terra-cotta, decorated in the red-figure technique

Dimensions

5.1 × 34 × 34 cm (2 × 13 3/8 × 13 3/8 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Philip D. Armour and Charles L. Hutchinson

Reference Number

1889.98

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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