Search Results:

Viewing Record 1 of 1

Title:Bowl base fragment
Date Made:100 BCE-300 CE
Materials:Ceramic; earthenware with red slip (terra sigillata)
Place Made:Europe
Measurements:Overall: 2 7/8 in x 1 3/16 in; 7.3 cm x 3 cm
Narrative Inscription:  MARK: interior: Felix Sergius; MARK: base: A J.
Accession Number:  MH 1997.99.22.2
Credit Line:Louise Fitz Randolph Collection (possibly)
Museum Collection:  Mount Holyoke College Art Museum

Foot section of a bowl with the impressed mark "Felix Sergi" on interior and scratched initials "A J" on exterior.

Label Text:
Terra sigillata (roughly meaning ‘sealed earth’) was a common ceramic type in the Roman Empire. These wares were pressed in a mold to create their form and decoration. A glossy finish was achieved by applying thin slips of clay to the surface, which was then burnished. Many of these vessels have maker’s marks that can provide insight into ancient ceramic production. This example bears the impressed mark “Felix Sergius,” indicating that the vessel was made by a slave toiling in a ceramic workshop owned by Sergius. It also bears another mark – the letters “A” and “J” scratched onto the base – probably signifying ownership of the vessel. The Roman alphabet did not include the letter J, so this inscription must have come centuries later. We will never know who “A. J.” was, or why he or she marked the vessel, yet the mystery makes the object all the more fascinating.

ancient; archaeology; pottery; vessels; containers

Link to share this object record:

Research on objects in the collections, including provenance, is ongoing and may be incomplete. If you have additional information or would like to learn more about a particular object, please email

4 Related Media Items

Viewing Record 1 of 1