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krater

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    1867,0508.1335

  • Description

    Apulian red-figure pottery krater.
    Designs red on black ground, with white and purple accessories. Above the designs, laurel-wreath; below the handles, the body of the vase is fluted.
    Side A:
    In the centre is a large tree with fruit (or flowers ?) in added white that reaches up to the top of the scene, with figures distributed on two levels. On the lower level to the right of the tree is a male figure to the left (his head is lost), wearing a himation and sandals and leaning on a staff (once painted white, few traces remaining). He holds out his lyre (the tortoise-shell case once painted white) in his outstretched right hand. In his left he presumably originally held a leash (of which not traces remain today) to which was attached the dog that jumps up in front of him towards the herm on the left of the tree. The dog was originally painted in added white of which few traces now remain; two additional heads had been added in modern times by scraping away the black glaze of the background and overpainting in added white; this modern addition has now been removed.

    Behind him is a seated woman wearing a long chiton and himation, her arms all wrapped in her cloak and one of them raised in front of her chest. She is seated to the front on what may be an altar (a block-like structure with flaring sides), looking at the man go her left. Beyond her to the right is a tree (of a different kind to the tree in the centre), the stem and details of which were once rendered in added white of which only few traces remain. To the left of the central tree is a large frontal herm on a stepped base highlighted in added white; the herm’s head has long hair and a radiated crown of leaves, its eyes are turned to the left, towards the man with the lyre. Standing beside it on the left is a youth, shown from the back but looking right and seemingly stretching out his right hand in front of the herm to point to the man with the lyre. He wears a white petasos on his back and a mantle over his left arm, and holds two spears in his left hand. Accompanying him to the left is an old paidagogos, with white hair and beard, wearing a short white sleeved chiton, chlamys with broad black border fastened the right shoulder and laced up boots; he holds a staff in the right hand and with his extended left hand seems to gesture behind the youth’s back towards the scene on the right.

    Above on the left a small figure of a young goat-legged and goat-tailed Pan is walking right, with a white and purple animal skin wrapped around his left arm. In his in right hand he holds out a syrinx to the god Hermes, who is seated opposite him. Wearing winged boots (the wings, rendered in added white, are only partly preserved) and reclining on drapery, Hermes holds a caduceus (rendered in added white, only partly preserved) and a white petasos in his left hand, while he is caressing a white dog with a purple collar on his lap. Hermes looks away from Pan down towards the figures on the lower level. To his right beyond the tree Eros stands to the right, shown as a young androgynous boy, with his bracelets, anklets, and his hair gathered up in a knot; large wings are attached to his back. He is facing a female figure (Aphrodite?), who is seated, dressed in a long chiton and himation over her lower limbs, with earrings, necklace, and bracelets, her hair partly gathered under a snood open at the back. Her left arm rests on a knotted travel-sack functioning as a pillow and holds a large fan (partly rendered in added white, now lost), while with her right she caresses a white swan on her lap which flutters its wings.

    Side B: In the centre, youthful Dionysos is reclining on drapery to the left, looking back to the right, towards where a young satyr stands. He has a fillet is in his hair and holds a thyrsus (with details in added white which is now mostly lost) in his left hand; in his right he holds out a phiale, which a female figure standing before him on the left fills from a white oinochoe. Her hair is tied in a bunch, and she wears an open snood from which her hair emerges, a necklace, bracelets, long dress, and white shoes; her left foot rests on a rock as she bends forward towards the youth. She holds a situla in her left hand, on which are painted in white and yellow three human figures, and a long branch, from the end of which hangs a white taenia (only partly preserved). On the right stands a young satyr, who is only partly preserved. He holds a thyrsus in his left hand (the details of which were once rendered in white and are now largely lost) and an animal skin (with added red and white colour) hangs over his left arm. In his lowered right he holds three white taeniae which he offers to Dionysos. Standing beside Dionysos on the ground is a large cylindrical cista with three feet and two side-handles. On the ground grow flowers. Directly above Dionysos sits a small figure of Eros, drapery beneath him. Again he is rendered as a winged androgynous boy, with necklace, anklet, and his hair gathered under a snood and escaping behind. Seated to the left, he too is looking back towards the satyr. In his left hand he holds a situla (?). In the field on the left are a white taenia and two flowers; on the right, leaves; ground-lines of white dots.

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  • Producer name

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 330BC-310BC
  • Production place

  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Ware

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 53.95 centimetres
    • Diameter: 50.15 centimetres
  • Curator's comments

    The removal of old restorations in 1959 has changed the appearance of the vase notably on side A, where the figure of a triple-headed Cerberus was shown to be not ancient but resulting from a modern addition of two additional heads to the figure of a regular dog. The black and white photographs of the vase attached to this record show both its pre- and post-cleaning condition. Most scholarly discussions of the vase, which often identify the scene in the lower right-hand part of side A as that of Orpheus and Eurydice in the Underworld, are based on the pre-cleaning state of the vase.

    Bibliography:
    Schmidt, M. 1960. Der Dareiosmaler, Aschendorff, 58, pl. 23.
    Schmidt, M., Trendall, A.D., and Cambitoglou, A. 1976. Eine Gruppe apulischer Grabvasen in Basel, Mainz, 38.
    Pensa, M. 1977. Rappresentazioni dell’ oltretomba nella ceramic apula, Rome, 30, 49 fig. 9 pl. 14.
    Moret, J.-M. 1993. “Les départs des Enfers dans l’imagerie apulienne”, RevArch 1993, 293-351, esp. 319, 342, 350 cat. 19.


    Previous description by H. B. Walters, Catalogue of the Greek and Etruscan Vases in the British Museum Vol 4 Vases of the Latest Period (London, British Museum, 1896). no. F270 (based on old restorations which have now been removed):

    (a) Scene in Hades, perhaps representing the Samothracian mysteries: The figures are in two rows; on the lower level, in the centre, is a boundary term to the front with long hair and radiated ampyx, perhaps Apollo; the term stands on two steps, and has a projection on either side. On the right is Orpheus to left (his head obliterated), in himation and sandals, holding out his lyre in right hand, and with left holding back Kerberos by a chain; he leans on a staff. Kerberos is painted white, with three heads with purple collars, and rears up to left; between Orpheus and the term is a large tree reaching up to the top of the scene. Behind Orpheus is Eurydike seated to the front on a block, looking at Orpheus; she has long chiton and himation; beyond her is a tree. On the left is a youth looking round to right and stretching out right hand to Orpheus' lyre; he has a white petasos, chlamys over left arm, and two spears in left hand; Orpheus acts as μυσταγωγός to him. Next to the youth is a paidagogos to right, with white hair and beard, short white sleeved chiton, chlamys with broad black border, fastened with fibula on right shoulder, endromides laced up, staff in right hand, left hand extended to the youth. The ground-line is indicated by white dots. Above on the left is Pan advancing, beardless, with white chlamys with purple border on left arm, and goat's legs, holding out a syrinx in right hand. Facing him is Hermes seated to left, looking round, beardless, with bordered drapery under him, winged endromides, white petasos, and caduceus in left hand; with right he caresses a white dog with purple collar which has leaped upon him. On the other side of the tree is Eros to right facing Aphrodite, who is seated, with hair gathered under a cap open at the back, and falling in ringlets, long chiton and himation over lower limbs, earrings, necklace, and bracelets; her left arm rests on a pillow and holds a large fan, in right she holds a swan with wings addorsed. Eros is of the androgynous Apulian type, with hair gathered up in a knot, bracelets, and anklets.
    (b) Dionysiac group: In the centre is Dionysos seated to left with drapery beneath him, looking to right; he is beardless, with fillet, and thyrsos in left hand; in right he holds out a phiale, which a female figure on the left fills from a white prochoos. Her hair is tied in a bunch, and she wears radiated open cap, necklace, bracelets, long chiton with apoptygma, and white shoes; her left foot rests on a rock. She holds a situla in left hand, on which are painted in white and yellow three human figures; out of it springs a long branch, from the end of which hangs a white taenia. On the right is a youth (his figure mostly obliterated), with chlamys over left arm and staff in left hand, offering three white taeniae to Dionysos; he stands on an eminence. Out of the ground grow three flowers, and behind Dionysos is a large cylindrical cista with three feet and two side-handles. Above these figures is Eros, with hair gathered under a close cap and escaping behind, necklace, anklet on left leg, and drapery beneath him; he is seated to left on raised ground (indicated by white dots), looking back and holding in left hand a situla; this part of the vase is much injured. In the field on the left are a white taenia and two flowers; on the right, leaves; ground-lines of white dots.

    Musee Blacas, pls. 7, 8; Welcker, Alte Denkm. iii. p. 117; Arch. Zeit. 1843, p. 183, 1844, pl. 14, p. 226, 1867, p. 43, 1884, p. 256; C. O. Müller, Kleine Schriften, ii. p. 498; Wiener Vorlegebl. E. pl. 6, fig. 1; Daremberg and Saglio, i. p. 766; Mem. de l’Acad. des Inscrs. N. S. xxi. pt. 2, p. 104; Winkler, de Inferorum repraesent. p. 27; Baumeister, p. 1930; J.H.S. xiii. p. 85; Bloch, die zuschauenden Gotter, pp. 30, 68.
    The four on side a, Pan, Hermes, Eros, and Aphrodite, answer to the four Cabeiric deities (J.H.S., l.c.); according to Bloch, the youth is a poet fetching the lyre of Orpheus from Hades.

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  • Bibliography

    • RVAp 18/318 bibliographic details
    • Vase F270 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display

  • Condition

    Reconstructed from fragments with parts missing. Cleaned, old restorations removed and re-mended in January 1959. The vase had been badly mended and the projecting edges filed down. Two of Cerberos' heads had been made by scraping away the glaze

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1867

  • Department

    Greek & Roman Antiquities

  • Registration number

    1867,0508.1335

Apulian red-figure pottery krater.  Designs red on black ground, with white and purple accessories. Above the designs, laurel-wreath; below the handles, the body of the vase is fluted.  Side A:   In the centre is a large tree with fruit (or flowers ?) in added white that reaches up to the top of the scene, with figures distributed on two levels. On the lower level to the right of the tree is a male figure to the left (his head is lost), wearing a himation and sandals and leaning on a staff (once painted white, few traces remaining). He holds out his lyre (the tortoise-shell case once painted white) in his outstretched right hand. In his left he presumably originally held a leash (of which not traces remain today) to which was attached the dog that jumps up in front of him towards the herm on the left of the tree. The dog was originally painted in added white of which few traces now remain; two additional heads had been added in modern times by scraping away the black glaze of the background and overpainting in added white; this modern addition has now been removed.    Behind him is a seated woman wearing a long chiton and himation, her arms all wrapped in her cloak and one of them raised in front of her chest. She is seated to the front on what may be an altar (a block-like structure with flaring sides), looking at the man go her left. Beyond her to the right is a tree (of a different kind to the tree in the centre), the stem and details of which were once rendered in added white of which only few traces remain. To the left of the central tree is a large frontal herm on a stepped base highlighted in added white; the herm’s head has long hair and a radiated crown of leaves, its eyes are turned to the left, towards the man with the lyre. Standing beside it on the left is a youth, shown from the back but looking right and seemingly stretching out his right hand in front of the herm to point to the man with the lyre. He wears a white petasos on his back and a mantle over his left arm, and holds two spears in his left hand. Accompanying him to the left is an old paidagogos, with white hair and beard, wearing a short white sleeved chiton, chlamys with broad black border fastened the right shoulder and laced up boots; he holds a staff in the right hand and with his extended left hand seems to gesture behind the youth’s back towards the scene on the right.     Above on the left a small figure of a young goat-legged and goat-tailed Pan is walking right, with a white and purple animal skin wrapped around his left arm. In his in right hand he holds out a syrinx to the god Hermes, who is seated opposite him. Wearing winged boots (the wings, rendered in added white, are only partly preserved) and reclining on drapery, Hermes holds a caduceus (rendered in added white, only partly preserved) and a white petasos in his left hand, while he is caressing a white dog with a purple collar on his lap. Hermes looks away from Pan down towards the figures on the lower level. To his right beyond the tree Eros stands to the right, shown as a young androgynous boy, with his bracelets, anklets, and his hair gathered up in a knot; large wings are attached to his back. He is facing a female figure (Aphrodite?), who is seated, dressed in a long chiton and himation over her lower limbs, with earrings, necklace, and bracelets, her hair partly gathered under a snood open at the back. Her left arm rests on a knotted travel-sack functioning as a pillow and holds a large fan (partly rendered in added white, now lost), while with her right she caresses a white swan on her lap which flutters its wings.    Side B: In the centre, youthful Dionysos is reclining on drapery to

Apulian red-figure pottery krater. Designs red on black ground, with white and purple accessories. Above the designs, laurel-wreath; below the handles, the body of the vase is fluted. Side A: In the centre is a large tree with fruit (or flowers ?) in added white that reaches up to the top of the scene, with figures distributed on two levels. On the lower level to the right of the tree is a male figure to the left (his head is lost), wearing a himation and sandals and leaning on a staff (once painted white, few traces remaining). He holds out his lyre (the tortoise-shell case once painted white) in his outstretched right hand. In his left he presumably originally held a leash (of which not traces remain today) to which was attached the dog that jumps up in front of him towards the herm on the left of the tree. The dog was originally painted in added white of which few traces now remain; two additional heads had been added in modern times by scraping away the black glaze of the background and overpainting in added white; this modern addition has now been removed. Behind him is a seated woman wearing a long chiton and himation, her arms all wrapped in her cloak and one of them raised in front of her chest. She is seated to the front on what may be an altar (a block-like structure with flaring sides), looking at the man go her left. Beyond her to the right is a tree (of a different kind to the tree in the centre), the stem and details of which were once rendered in added white of which only few traces remain. To the left of the central tree is a large frontal herm on a stepped base highlighted in added white; the herm’s head has long hair and a radiated crown of leaves, its eyes are turned to the left, towards the man with the lyre. Standing beside it on the left is a youth, shown from the back but looking right and seemingly stretching out his right hand in front of the herm to point to the man with the lyre. He wears a white petasos on his back and a mantle over his left arm, and holds two spears in his left hand. Accompanying him to the left is an old paidagogos, with white hair and beard, wearing a short white sleeved chiton, chlamys with broad black border fastened the right shoulder and laced up boots; he holds a staff in the right hand and with his extended left hand seems to gesture behind the youth’s back towards the scene on the right. Above on the left a small figure of a young goat-legged and goat-tailed Pan is walking right, with a white and purple animal skin wrapped around his left arm. In his in right hand he holds out a syrinx to the god Hermes, who is seated opposite him. Wearing winged boots (the wings, rendered in added white, are only partly preserved) and reclining on drapery, Hermes holds a caduceus (rendered in added white, only partly preserved) and a white petasos in his left hand, while he is caressing a white dog with a purple collar on his lap. Hermes looks away from Pan down towards the figures on the lower level. To his right beyond the tree Eros stands to the right, shown as a young androgynous boy, with his bracelets, anklets, and his hair gathered up in a knot; large wings are attached to his back. He is facing a female figure (Aphrodite?), who is seated, dressed in a long chiton and himation over her lower limbs, with earrings, necklace, and bracelets, her hair partly gathered under a snood open at the back. Her left arm rests on a knotted travel-sack functioning as a pillow and holds a large fan (partly rendered in added white, now lost), while with her right she caresses a white swan on her lap which flutters its wings. Side B: In the centre, youthful Dionysos is reclining on drapery to

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