The Terracotta drinking vessel is one of the famous Greek art works that were exported to Italy in the archaic and classic periods. The mug was made in Athens during the late years of the 5th century BC and completed in the early years of the 6th century BC. The mug was signed by Charinos as a potter and painter Altos. Terracotta drinking vessel was also one of the three outstanding Greek vases that were loaned to the Metropolitan museum of Greece by the Republic of Italy in 2008 for a period of four years. This was a result of increased requests by the Greek people to view the mug in local museums (Antiques and the Arts 2008).
The writing on the underside of the foot of the mug shows that the vessel was a dedication to the sons of Zeus, Pollux and Castor. However, the vessel could not be used for drinking purposes in a symposium due to its extremely large size. Therefore, the mug was more of a glorious offering to the sons of Zeus as a sign of appreciation (Art daily 2012). The vessel is in the shape of a young woman’s head. The hair of the woman is represented in the form of scrupulous decoration which shows that the hair was woven. The head is also well-ornamented which shows that the woman must have been influential in the society such as those who entertained Greek men in symposiums (Art daily 2012).
The Terracotta mug symbolized three major things to the Greek people. The vessel had cultural, religious, and artistic features of the ancient Greeks’ society. The vessel was molded in the time when several gods were worshiped in Greece. Actually, there was goddess for every aspect of life. For instance, there was goddess for infants, rainfall, prosperity, wealth, fortune, and good harvest among others. The Greek society where the vessel was made associated the mug with other offerings presented in temple to the gods as a sign of offering (Antiques and the Arts 2008). Most of the figurines presented to the temple in that time had woman images and were made of clay similar to the Terracotta mug. Additionally, it was extremely decorated and big and could only be worth the honor of gods.
The vessel also represented the rich culture of the ancient Greeks’ society. Clay art works were common among the Greeks in the 4th and 6th centuries. Painting was also a very respectable profession among the ancient Greeks; good painters and potters were greatly respected in the society (Antiques and the Arts 2008). The Terracotta mug was made from clay and decorated by some of the prominent painters of the time. The mug was therefore a form of appreciation of the Greek artistic culture. Another symbolic factor represented in the mug was the decorative aspect of the Greek’s culture. Greeks are among the oldest civilizations in the man’s history. They valued beauty very much, and many aspects of their lives were associated with beauty. More so, women were taken as symbols of beauty among the ancient Greeks. The fact the Terracotta vessel was made in a shape of a young woman head represented beauty aspect of the Greeks’ culture (Art daily 2012).
The mug was made when people used clay for most of the artistic products in Greece.. This was because clay was a resource available even to fresh artists who could not afford to buy expensive materials such as gold. Clay works were easily made and then fired to harden. Molded products were decorated through painting before they were sold to other parts of Europe or used as offerings in the temple (Art daily 2012). The Terracotta vessel was made from clay and signed by a prominent potter Charinos. Before exporting to Italy, it was decorated by Altos. The mug is still there under the custody of the government of the Republic of Italy. However, the Greeks still value it very much, and they feel that it should be kept in a local museum rather than in Italy (Art daily 2012). This made the Metropolitan museum of Athens loan it together with other vessels from the government of Italy for a period of four years in 2008 so that the Greeks could have the opportunity to view them locally.