Geography: Made in La Guierce, Charente, France
Culture: Late Roman
Medium: Champlevé enamel, copper alloy
Dimensions: Overall: 4 13/16 x 4 5/8 in. (12.3 x 11.8 cm)
Overall (with mount): 5 x 4 5/8 in. (12.7 x 11.8 cm)
Credit Line: Fletcher Fund, 1947
Accession Number: 47.100.5
When a third-century A.D. Greek writer described the foreign technique of pouring "colors into bronze molds, so that the colors become as hard as stone," he was probably referring to enameling of the type found on this vase. Brilliant red, blue, and green enamels, worked in the champlevé technique, define the foliate ornament encircling the body. To make this kind of embellishment, design shapes are scooped out of the metal ground and filled with powdered glass; then the object is fired. This vase was excavated at La Guierce, France, only thirty-five miles from Limoges, a city that would become synonymous with champlevé enamelwork later in the Middle Ages. Roman coins inside the vase indicate that it was likely made in the second half of the third century.