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calyx-krater

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    1867,0508.1133

  • Description

    Pottery: red-figured calyx-krater.
    The sun and the stars. The scene is set at dawn, as the sun rises from the sea and the stars sink into it. The sun drives his chariot, pulled by four winged horses, up out of the ocean, while the stars are shown as boys, diving and disappearing into the water.
    (a) Over the mountain-top on the left the setting moon is shown as Selene, a matronly figure in long chiton, necklace, and mantle passed over her head, riding side-saddle a horse, whose legs are already out of sight, to the left. Below her gallops up the mountain-side a large hound, who seems to be baying the moon; this is the hound of Kephalos, a wreathed youth equipped as a hunter (chlamys, petasos at back, two spears in left hand), who, as he moves to left, turns to menace with a stone Eos, as she extends her right to seize him. She moves rapidly after him, her powerful wings extended behind, wearing a long chiton, a mantle covering her body and left arm, a necklace, and a stephane with long rays; her hair is knotted behind. On the right (over the handle) is another hill-top, surmounted by a stunted pine-tree, beside which the morning star (Eosphoros, Lucifer), represented as a wreathed boy with heavy mantle hanging from his left shoulder and arm, moves rapidly to the right, looking back at Eos, and raising his right hand in surprise; his feet and his right leg from the knee are concealed behind the hill-top.
    (b) Continuing the scene, on the left four stars, as nude boys, are shown in various stages of setting in the rippling waves on the seashore. One, as a diver with extended arms, plunges headlong into the waves; a second stands en face on a small pinnacle of rock, raising his arms as if about to plunge; a third, already in the waves, swims to right, hand over hand, looking back at the last; and a fourth, who stands waist-high in the water, extends his arms as if about to dive beneath the surface to the left; he looks to right, where, spreading over the whole of this side of the vase, the chariot of Helios, drawn by four winged horses, springs forward and upward out of the sea. Helios, a beardless but full-grown man, with large radiated disc as background for his head, with short chiton, leaving right shoulder free, and mantle flying from both shoulders, leans slightly back in his chariot, with his weight on the reins, held in each hand, as if restraining his horses; in his right he holds also a goad. Each pair of reins is bound together at regular intervals; the chariot is decorated with floral ornaments; the horses have collars and bridles studded with white beads.
    Late stage of finest style. Purple is used for ground-lines, waves, wreaths, rays of Eos, leaves of tree. Brown inner markings and a brown wash for wings and mane of horses, body of chariot, and disc of sun. Eye in profile. The drapery of Helios is like that of the Meidias vase. The left leg of Eos is curiously drawn, as if beneath transparent drapery. Below each side, sets of three maeanders separated by chequer squares. Round the lip, laurel-wreath. The design runs in a continuous band round the body of the vase and above each handle. The scene in a is laid on a rocky mountain side, sloping down in b to the waves of the sea.

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  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 430BC (circa)
  • Production place

  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Ware

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 33.02 centimetres (about)
    • Diameter: 30.48 centimetres (about)
  • Curator's comments

    BM Cat. Vases

    Panofka, Musee Blacas, pll. 17-18, p. 49; id. Bild. Ant. Lebens, pl. 15, 1; Raoul-Rochette, Mon. Ined. pl. 73; Mon. dell' Inst, ii, pl. 55; Ann. Dell’ Inst. 1838, p. 268; Él. Cér. ii, pll. 111, 112, p. 375; Gerhard, Lichtgottheiten, pll. 1-2; Creuzer, Symb. ii. H, 3, pl. 6; Welcker, Alte Denkm. iii, pl. 9, p. 53; Stephani, Μél. Gréco-rom. i, p. 545, no. 19; and Nimbus und Straklenkr. p. 27, note 2 a; Jahn, Arch. Beitr. p. 66; Roscher, s.v. Helios, p. 2010; Baumeister, p. 640, fig. 711; Harrison and Verrall, p. lxvii.
    The figure in a can hardly be Hesperos, who usually holds a torch, and is regarded as the bringer of night. That he is an important star is shown by his antithesis to Selene; his looking back at Eos and Kephalos would suit the story of his parentage given in Hesiod, Theog. 381,987. Such cases of prolepsis are familiar among vase-paintings.

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  • Bibliography

    • Vase E466 bibliographic details
    • Lippincott 1999 p.31, cat.018 bibliographic details
  • Location

    On display: G19/dc1

  • Exhibition history

    Exhibited:

    1999 1 Dec-2000 24 Sep, London, The Queen’s House, The Story of Time
    12 Mar 2009-30 Aug 2009, Instituto e Museo di Storia Della Scieiza, Florence, Italy.

  • Condition

    The surface of the upper part of a is damaged.

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1867

  • Department

    Greek & Roman Antiquities

  • Registration number

    1867,0508.1133

Pottery: red-figured calyx-krater (bowl for mixing wine and water): the sun and the stars. The scene is set at dawn, as the sun rises from the sea and the stars sink into it. The sun drives his chariot, pulled by four winged horses, up out of the ocean, while the stars are shown as boys, diving and disappearing into the water.

Detail: Other

Pottery: red-figured calyx-krater (bowl for mixing wine and water): the sun and the stars. The scene is set at dawn, as the sun rises from the sea and the stars sink into it. The sun drives his chariot, pulled by four winged horses, up out of the ocean, while the stars are shown as boys, diving and disappearing into the water.

Image description

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Object reference number: GAA6889

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