- Museum number
Pottery: red-figured vessel in the form of a knucklebone (astragalos), showing a male figure, perhaps Aeolus at the mouth of his cave, directing the dance of the clouds.
The design occupies the two long flat sides (a and c), and three figures are drawn on the upper side, and three on the end (b). The surface has been injured in parts (e.g. the figure of the man, the right hand of the foremost girl, &c). At one end of the long side (a) is an opening in the form of an archaic eye; beside this the design starts. Finest style. The hair over the forehead is usually arranged in rows of dots.
Dance of girls, (a) A bearded man, beside the opening of the vase, with mantle wrapped around his waist, gesticulates with both arms to a band of three girls who dance from the right towards him with joined hands. The foremost looks at him, the second looks back at the third, who is only half seen, her figure being cut off by the edge of the vase. Each has a long sleeved chiton; the two foremost wear a mantle fastened on the left shoulder, and a saccos, which in the case of the foremost is black.
(b) Two groups, each of three girls floating in air; in the lower group, the central figure, to left, has a sphendone, her arms covered to the hands in her sleeves; the left-hand one, to right, raises her skirt in both hands so as to form a lap; she has a saccos; the third, to right, extends one arm on each side, looking back at her companions; she wears a stephane with dentated edge. In the upper group the foremost, wearing a sphendone, raises the edge of the skirt with her left and extends her right. The second has her arms covered with her sleeves, and looks back at the third, whose arms are covered by her himation; the second and third have a saccos; that of the second is dotted with minute trefoils.
(c) Reverse of (a): Four girls floating in air to left. The foremost has her arms in her sleeves and looks back; the second holds over the first in her right a long tendril with flower, and raises the edge of her skirt with her left hand; the third extends her right; the fourth raises her skirt with her right hand and looks back; her drapery is dotted with minute trefoils; all but the first have a saccos; the second and fourth have no girdle.
- Production date
- 470BC-450BC (circa)
Height: 12.70 centimetres
Height: 120 millimetres
Length: 16.51 centimetres
Weight: 514 grammes
Width: 168 millimetres
Depth: 110 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- [Historic text taken from C. H. Smith, Catalogue of the Greek and Etruscan vases in the British Museum, Vol. III (1896), p. 380. See more recent bibliography for up to date assessments]
Stackelberg, Gräber der Hell. pl. 23; partially in Schreiber, Kulturhist. Bilderatlas, pt. i, pl. 20, nos. 6-7; J.H.S. vol. 13, pp. 131-136, cut on p. 135 (aand c); Bolte, Mon. ad Odyss. pert. p. 37; Bull. dell’ Inst. 1829, pp. 77, 125; Jahn, Vasens. zu München, p. xxvi.
These figures have been explained as ‘Hyades and Pleiades’ (Stackelberg), and as ‘Aurae’ (Six in J.H.S. loc. cit.). Pollux, iv, 103, describes dances imitating the flight of birds; and for mimetic dancing generally, Lucian, De salt. 37 ff., and Xenophon, Symp. vii, 5. On the exterior of BM Vase D3 fragments of similar figures are shown; and on Ε467 is a scene in which a chorus of girls dance to the music of a flute-player. Six points out the analogy of (a) to the scenes with Hermes, the Charites and the Cave of Pan. For the relation of the vase to the throws of an astragalus (χϊον, κώον, πράνης see Six, ibid. ; his account however is at variance with that given in Smith, Dict. Ant. ii, p. 759. It may be merely by a coincidence that the total number of figures on this vase amounts to 14, the number which in later times was the throw called basilieus. (Interpretation c. 1896)
- On display (G69/dc22)
- Exhibition history
"Ingres et l'antique", Musee Ingres, Montauban, & Musee de l'Arles, Arles 15.6.06-8.1.07
- Acquisition date
- Greek and Roman
- Registration number