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Terracotta loutrophoros (ceremonial vase for water)

Period:
Archaic
Date:
late 6th century B.C.
Culture:
Greek, Attic
Medium:
Terracotta; black-figure
Dimensions:
H. 27 3/4 in. (70.5 cm)
Classification:
Vases
Credit Line:
Funds from various donors, 1927
Accession Number:
27.228
  • Description

    Prothesis (laying out of the dead); below, horsemen
    On the neck, mourners

    Loutrophoroi were used to fetch water for the bridal bath and for certain funerary rites. This vase may have been used in rituals at the grave, for it was made with no bottom so that offerings poured into it could reach the dead under ground. It is decorated with scenes of the ceremonies that preceded burial. On the shoulder of the vase, a dead youth lies on a high couch, surrounded by grieving women–his relatives and perhaps professional mourners. Their hair has been cut short as a sign of mourning, and they make the traditional gestures of lamentation. Their open mouths indicate that they are singing a funeral song. On either side, men walk in procession with their right arms raised and their mouths open, also in funeral lament. Below, horsemen similarly gesture with their arms. Above, on the neck, is another group of mourning women, one holding a loutrophoros.

  • References

    Richter, Gisela M. A. 1930. Handbook of the Classical Collection. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, pp. 88-89, fig. 56.

    McClees, Helen and Christine Alexander. 1933. The Daily Life of the Greeks and Romans: As Illustrated in the Classical Collections, 5th edn. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, pp. 127, 130, fig. 153.

    Richter, Gisela M. A. and Marjorie J. Milne. 1935. Shapes and Names of Athenian Vases. New York: Plantin Press, pp. 5-6, fig. 40.

    McClees, Helen and Christine Alexander. 1941. The Daily Life of the Greeks and Romans: As Illustrated in the Classical Collections, 5th edn. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, pp. 127, 130, fig. 153.

    Richter, Gisela M. A. 1953. Handbook of the Greek Collection. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, pp. 61, 203, pl. 43b.

    von Bothmer, Dietrich. 1972. "Greek Vase Painting: An Introduction." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, 31(1): p. 4.

    Picón, Carlos A. 2007. Art of the Classical World in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Greece, Cyprus, Etruria, Rome New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, no. 70, pp. 73, 420.

  • See also
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    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
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