The word askos originally designates the skin of an animal that was sewn and turned into a skin intended to carry liquids, especially wine or water. In southern Italy, this form generally had a funerary destination.
This example, whose spherical shape with a large vertical neck recalls a wineskin, is a typical production of Daunian ceramists (the style is called Daunian listato, because of the nets or listels painted in brown-black): it is remarkable for its elaborate decoration, perfectly organized in horizontal friezes that separate the double nets. The linear patterns dominate the composition, but there are also many garlands, flowers, volutes and highly stylized animals.
Such vessels were produced exclusively for the indigenous peoples who inhabited the northern part of modern day Apulia (Daunia was located north of Bari): their relationship with the Greeks colonists, mainly settled in the coastal cities of the Adriatic, have always been conflicting. Stylistically, the development of Daunian pottery followed its own tradition, resilient to the influences coming from the contemporary Italiote style (painted in the red-figure technique), which was intended for people of Greek origin.