Height: 15.200 cm
Room 13: Greece 1050-520 BC
Miniature krater with ram's head handles
Greek, about 670-650 BC
Made in the Greek East, probably Rhodes; from Kamiros, Rhodes, Aegean Sea
The 'Wild Goat' style
The small size of this krater makes it unlikely that it was ever used for mixing wine and water. It is more likely that it was designed to be laid in a tomb, where its role may have been to provide the dead person with symbolic equipment for life after death.
The krater's handles are in the form of ram's heads. Animal heads were frequently set on the rims of large bronze bowls in the Near East at this time, and it appears that the Greeks adopted the idea to use in both bronze and pottery. A beautiful example in bronze is a griffin protome once attached to the shoulder of a large bronze bowl.
The painting on this krater is in a style known as 'Wild Goat', after the animals that are its most typical motif: here a pair of goats flank a palmette tree, a motif adopted from the East. The Wild Goat style is executed in black silhouette and outline, enlivened with areas of purplish red. The style of painting is characteristic of the Greek cities on the west coast of Asia Minor, including Miletos and Ephesos, and of islands such as Rhodes, Samos and Chios in the seventh and sixth centuries BC. Another example of the Wild Goat style is the painting on a bowl with basket-like handles, which was made in Chios, Southern Aegean, and is also in The British Museum.
J. Boardman, Early Greek vase painting: 11t (London, Thames and Hudson, 1998)
D. Williams, Greek vases (London, The British Museum Press, 1999)