Mould-made bowl

Greek, about 225-175 BC
Made in Athens, Greece; from Thebes, Greece

A scene showing the abduction of Persephone by Hades

The scene on this vase illustrates the abduction of Persephone, daughter of Demeter, by Hades, god of the Underworld. Led by the messenger god Hermes, the chariot of Hades rushes towards the entrance to the Underworld, which is indicated by a gateway or grave marker. Persephone is shown as a tiny figure with streaming hair. Her arms are outstretched towards the female figures who chase after the chariot. The first of these may be either her mother, Demeter, or one of the friends with whom she was picking flowers when the abduction took place. Following in hot pursuit are the goddesses Athena, Hekate (or Demeter) and Artemis. Beyond the entrance to the Underworld the rustic god Pan sits piping by a clump of reeds, and two of the daughters of Danaus (King of Egypt in Greek legend) are shown with their leaky pitchers.

Small, deep, mould-made bowls of this type were produced in many parts of the Hellenistic world, but may have originated in Athens, inspired by silver bowls imported from Egypt. The technique of production involved centring a mould on a wheel and then throwing the vase inside it. In this case, an extended lip has been thrown on above the moulded section. The allusions to Greek poetry and myth on this bowl are echoed on several others of this type and suggest that they may have been designed to appeal to a well-educated customer.

Find in the collection online

More information


S. Rotroff, Hellenistic pottery: Athenian, The Athenian Agora, vol. XXII (Princeton, American School of Classical Studies at Athens, 1982)

D. Williams, Greek vases (London, The British Museum Press, 1999)


Diameter: 17.750 cm
Height: 10.500 cm

Museum number

GR 1897.3-17.3



Find in the collection online

Search highlights

There are over 4,000 highlight objects to explore