- Museum number
Pottery: red-figured bell-krater showing a scene from South Italian comedy.
Designs red on black ground, with white accessories. Above the designs, laurel-wreath; below, maeander and chequer; round the ends of the handles, egg-moulding; below the handles, palmettes.
(a) Scene from a comedy; parody of the myth of Cheiron cured by Apollo (or Asclepios): On the left is a stage, on which is a side-view of a doorway with projecting porch ornamented with an egg-moulding and scroll-pattern; this represents the temple of Apollo at Delphi. The porch is supported by a sloping bracket; below the stage are two festoons. The stage is approached by a ladder of four steps, on the second of which stands the slave Xanthias, who has preceded Cheiron up the ladder, and turns round to help him up by placing right hand on his head. Xanthias is bald and bearded, with short girt bordered chiton, under-garment with sleeves and anaxyrides in one piece, and phallos; he wears a mask with snub nose and large mouth. On the stage behind him are a large bundle ornamented with zigzags and rings, fastened to a yoke, and a pilos, which he has laid down to assist Cheiron; above him is incised: ...VθΙΑΣ, Ξα]νθίας. Cheiron stands on the two lower steps, leaning on a crooked staff; the hinder part of the Centaur is formed by a slave pushing from behind. Cheiron is partly bald, with white hair, beard, and shaggy eyebrows, mask with exaggerated nose and mouth, bordered himation, under-garment as Xanthias, and phallos; his eyes are closed to indicate blindness. The slave is partly bald, with white hair and beard, mask and dress as Cheiron; behind him is a youth to left, wearing wreath and himation, probably Achilles, who was the Centaur’s pupil. Above Cheiron is incised: ΧΙΡΩΝ, Χίρων. On the right above is a line indicating rocky ground, over which are seen the upper parts of two Nymphs partly turned towards one another, as if conversing; they have masks with protruding lips, and wear white fillets, long chitons, and bordered himatia. The one on the right wears a veil, which she draws forward with right hand, and the other has curly hair and a beaded ampyx; above them is incised: NY…ΑΙ, Νύ[μφ]αί. The presence of these two figures may have reference to the Nymphs of Anigros, where Cheiron bathed after being wounded by Heracles.
(b) In the centre is an athlete seated on a rock to left, nude and beardless, holding up an aryballos by a thong in right hand. On either side facing him is a youth in a himation, the one on the right with staff and right shoulder left bare; above hangs a pair of halteres.
- Production date
- 380BC-370BC (circa)
Diameter: 40 centimetres (checked)
Height: 38 centimetres (checked)
- Curator's comments
- BM Cat. Vases
El. Cer. ii. pl. 94; Panofka, Bild. Ant. Leb. pl. 7, fig. 5; Wieseler, Theatergebaude, pl. 9, fig. 13, p. 60; Geppert, Altgr. Bilhue, pl. 5; Champfleury, Caric. Ant2, p. 201; Duruy, Hist. of Greece, iii. p. 67; Wiener Vorlegebl. iii. pl. 9; Schreiber-Anderson, Atlas of Class. Antiquities, pl. 5, fig. 11; Baumeister, p. 820; Heydemann in Jahrbuch, i. (1886), p. 287; id. Humoristische Vasenb. p. 11, note 42; Lenormant, Quaest. cur Plato Aristoph. in conviv. induxerit (Paris, 1838); Gerhard, Hall. Allgem. Litteraturzeit. 1836, Intell.-Blatt, p. 338; Grysar, De Doriensium Comoedia, p. 45; Jahrbuch fur Class. Philol. Suppl.-Bd. xx. p. 723; C.I.Gr. 8359.
For the nymphs of Anigros, see Paus. v. 5, 10.
- On display (G69/dc21)
- Exhibition history
1996 11 Jul-6 Oct, Japan, Arita, Kyushu Ceramic Museum, Ceramics and Civilisation
2010 Aug-2011 Jan, Los Angeles, The Getty Villa, 'The Art of Ancient Greek Theatre'
2015, 26 Mar-5 Jul, The British Museum, Defining Beauty: the body in ancient Greek art.
- Repaired and restored.
- Acquisition date
- Greek and Roman
- Registration number