- Museum number
Athenian drinking mug (head vase) in the form of the head of a bearded Persian.
The bearded head wears a Persian soft skin hat ('kidaris'), properly tied under the chin. There is also a broad fillet tied around the head, the ends knotted at the rear. His forehead is furrowed, eyebrows contracted and mouth open, all suggesting fear or pain. The head was mould-made and the clay was covered first with a white slip, over which other colours were added.
Above the head there is on the mouth of the vase a red-figure scene of a mistress and maid. The elegant mistress (long chiton, mantle, bracelets, earrings, and sphendone) sits to left on a chair, gazing at her image in a mirror, while the servant stands holding a closed box before her. This servant is dressed in an oriental trouser-suit (probably made up of an 'anaxyrides' and a 'kandys'), with a sleeveless patterned 'ependytes' over the top, and a soft hat with ear-flaps hanging down (kidaris). She is presumably intended to be a Persian slave. In Persia the 'ependytes' was worn by men, but in Athens it was taken over as an item of female dress. There are traces of a preliminary sketch for this red-figured scene: the painter originally thought to show two female (?) standing figures confronted.
- Production date
- 410BC-400BC (circa)
Height: 23.00 - 23.50 centimetres
Diameter: 12.50 centimetres
Width: 11 centimetres
Depth: 16.50 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- According to a handwritten list in a copy of Gargiulo's 1825 catalogue of the Museo Borbonico and other collections preserved in the library of the Department of Greece and Rome in the British Museum, the findspot of the vase is Apulia.
- Bibliographic references
Vase / Catalogue of Vases in the British Museum (E791, pp.375-76)
ARV / Attic Red-Figure Vase-Painters (1550, 3) (Class W, the Persian Class)
Raeck 1981 / Zum Barbarenbild in der Kunst Athens im 6. und 5. Jahrhunderts v. Chr. (160, 327, no. P571)
Curtis & Tallis 2005 / Forgotten Empire: The world of Ancient Persia (cat. 448)
CVA British Museum 4 / Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum: Great Britain 5, British Museum 4 (III.Ic.8, pls. (230, 231), 7.6A-B, 8.4)
- On display (G35/dc20)
- Exhibition history
2023 4 May - 13 Aug, London, BM, G35, Luxury and Power: Persia to Greece
2015, 26 Mar-5 Jul, The British Museum, Defining Beauty: the body in ancient Greek art.
2006 7 Mar-11 Jun, Barcelona, Fundacion La Caixa, 'L'imperi Oblidat'
2005-2006 Sept-Jan, London, BM, 'Forgotten Empire'
- Acquisition date
- Greek and Roman
- Registration number