Red-figured water jar (hydria), attributed to the Lipari Painter

Greek, about 320-310 BC
Made on Sicily or Lipari, Italy

Two women at a tomb

The Lipari Painter liked to enliven the traditional black-and-red colour scheme of his vases by adding a wide range of colours after firing, including pink, blue, red and yellow. Like the colours added to Athenian white-ground lekythoi, such colours do not wear very well, and it seems likely that most of these polychrome vases were made to be placed in tombs as offerings.

On this hydria, traces of red and a vivid blue are preserved, as well as the white clay that was applied before firing. The funerary scene on the vase also suggests that it was a tomb offering. The impassive-looking woman on the left, holding a fan or parasol, may be a slave or other attendant, while her more emotional companion on the right looks like a relative of the dead person whose tomb they visit. This woman's expression is anguished and she pulls a fold of her cloak before her face. She carries a box of eggs, an offering for the dead.

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More information


A.D. Trendall, Red figure vases of South Ital (New York, Thames and Hudson, 1989)

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


Height: 33.400 cm

Museum number

GR 1970.6-19.1



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