Terracotta loutrophoros (ceremonial vase for water)

Attributed to the Metope Painter

Period: Late Classical

Date: 3rd quarter of the 4th century B.C.

Culture: Greek, South Italian, Apulian

Medium: Terracotta; red-figure

Dimensions: 32 3/4 in. (83.2 cm)

Classification: Vases

Credit Line: Purchase, The Bernard and Audrey Aronson Charitable Trust Gift, in memory of her beloved husband, Bernard Aronson, 1995

Accession Number: 1995.45.2


This loutrophoros is a slightly simpler counterpart of 1995.45.1. The naiskos has only two columns, and the lower part of the podium is covered with vine tendrils. The woman opens a casket, while her maid holds a garland of flowers. Although the function of such vases is not fully understood, it was most probably funerary. From its origins in Athens, the loutrophoros was associated with weddings and with rites for those who died unmarried. The iconographic formula of figures in a naiskos was established in sculpture on the Greek mainland, whence it reached southern Italy.