In 1848 the original of this exquisite barbotine decorated cup was unearthed in a Roman grave at West Lodge in Colchester. Since its discovery, it has received the sort of attention and fame that is deserving of a great artistic masterpiece such as this, with some claiming that it has no equal.
It was probably made in or around Colchester, the centre of the Nene Valley Roman pottery industry, about AD 175 when this sumptuous pottery style was at its most popular.
We have replicated this superb vessel using barbotine slip decorating techniques that were authentic to the Romano-British potters of the time. Although they remain anonymous, the potter who artfully crafted this would have been a true master. With this in mind, we have devoted much care and attention to replicating this exquisite and extravagant masterpiece so that we can pay tribute to the incredible talent of this unknown master.
This cup is larger and more elaborately decorated than your average hunt cup and is likely to have been made as a bespoke commission. It is even suspected that it depicts a particular gladiatorial event.
The natural beauty of this piece is that the potter has captured the spectacle of a Roman Arena or Circus scene, giving the viewer a glimpse into this fascinating ancient world. The first gladiator, a Retiarius, meaning “net man”, who fought with a weighted net, a three-pointed trident and a dagger, is seen in combat with a Secutor armed with a gladius and scutum (short sword and shield). With his finger raised in the air and his weapon lying uselessly at his feet, the Retiarius indicates submission perpetually awaiting his fate.
In the next panel, we see the brutality of the games, with two Bestiarii, one armed with a whip and the other with a pair of clubs, fighting a Bear.
The final scene is more typical of Hunt cups with a classic “Hunt Scene” showing a stampede of Deer, Hares and Dogs that rush across the face of the cup.
Possibly the most fascinating aspect of this celebrated ancient artwork is that it has been inscribed with the names of four of the performers in this event. The inscription reads: Secundus Mario Memnon SAC VIIII Valetinu Legionis XXX. It is believed that Secundus and Mario are the names of the Bestiarii, Memnon is a Seutor who has survived nine gladiatorial conflicts and his opponent Valentinus is of the Legionis XXX or 30th Legion of the Roman Army. It truly is an object of great archaeological and artistic importance.
Approx 220 mm tall, 170 mm diameter
This replica Roman pot was hand-made in Northumberland by Potted History, based on an original artefact. It has been fired to a temperature of between 800 & 1000 Centigrade to emulate the same techniques that the original potters would have employed nearly two thousand years ago. This process often results in variations in surface colour and texture, as is common with the original Roman Pottery. As each pot varies ever so slightly, you may not receive the exact cup in the images. You can be sure that your pot will be one of a kind due to the variations caused by the firing and hand-making process.
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