This amphora was made in the traditional Etruscan technique known as “black bucchero”. The vessel was first carefully polished in order to obtain the shiny, lustrous surface typical of this class of containers; it was then fired in an oxygen-poor kiln, which caused the fabric of the clay to change color from its natural red to blackish gray. This process produced a metallic sheen enabling to create cheaper imitations of the vessels made of bronze, silver or gold, intended for a more exclusive clientele.
The sinuous, very elegant profile of the amphora is only interrupted by two horizontal lines laid in relief; the heart-shaped body is supported by a tall, cylindrical foot; the flat, ribbed handles still recall the shape of some metallic examples. Only the handles are decorated with a pattern stamped in relief, which represents a stylized human figure that seems to walk to the right.
Such amphorae are known as “Nikosthenic” and are dated to the central decades of the 6th century B.C. The type is of Etruscan origin, but at that time it was imitated by Attic potters (Nikosthenes is the most famous among them), who decorated them with mythological scenes (according to the black-figure technique) especially for the Etruscan market.