Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Terracotta vase in the form of a lobster claw

Attributed to the Class of Seven Lobster-Claws
ca. 460 B.C.
Greek, Attic
Terracotta; red-figure
Overall: 2 3/4 x 2 7/8 in. (7 x 7.3 cm) Other: 6 1/4in. (15.9cm)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1923
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 157
Donkey; keras (drinking horn)

Because so many aspects of Greek life depended on the sea, a vase in the shape of a lobster claw is not surprising. It is, however, exceptional and may be a variant of the askos—a bag-shaped oil container provided with a vertical mouth and strap handle. The Dionysiac iconography of the lobster claw suggests that it was a novelty item used at symposia (drinking parties).
Inscription: Inscribed: "the boy is fair"
Said to have been found near Santa Maria di Capua in 1872 (Helbig 1873, pp. 4-5)

1872, found in a tomb near Santa Maria di Capua by Francesco Focone; by 1910, collection of Count Grégoire Stroganoff, Rome; [until 1923, with Giorgio Sangiorgi, Rome]; acquired in 1923, purchased from Giorgio Sangiorgi.
Helbig, Wolfgang. 1873. "Note." Bullettino dell'Instituto di corrispondenza archeologica, 1: pp. 4-5.

Pollak, Ludwig and Antonio Muñoz. 1911. Pièces de choix de la collection du comte Grégoire Stroganoff à Rome. p. 60, pl. XLII, Rome: Impr. de l'Unione editrice.

Richter, Gisela M. A. 1925. "Athenian Red-Figured Vases." Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 20(5): pp. 130, 132, fig. 5.

Richter, Gisela M. A. and Marjorie J. Milne. 1935. Shapes and Names of Athenian Vases. pp. 17-18, fig. 113, New York: Plantin Press.

1941. "Archäologische Grabungen und Funde in Italien und Libyen." Archäologischer Anzeiger, Jahrbuch des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts, III, IV: p. 390 n. 3.

Beazley, John D. 1945. "The Brygos Tomb at Capua." American Journal of Archaeology, 49(2): p. 157.

Noble, Joseph V. 1965. The Technique of Attic Vase-Painting. fig. 173, New York: American Journal of Archaeology.

Beazley, John D. 1963[1942]. Attic Red-figure Vase-painters, Vols. 1 and 2, 2nd ed. pp. 777, 971, no. 6, Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Beazley, John D. 1971. Paralipomena: Additions to Attic Black-Figure Vase-Painters and to Attic Red-Figure Vase-Painters [2nd edition]. p. 435, Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Hoffmann, Herbert. 1977. Sexual and Asexual Pursuit: a Structuralist Approach to Greek Vase Painting, Occasional Papers, Vol. 34. no. 6, p. 14, pl. 12.5, London: Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland.

Related Objects

Terracotta askos in the form of a boar

Date: 4th century B.C. Medium: Terracotta Accession: 41.162.46 On view in:Gallery 161

Terracotta cosmetic vase

Date: 4th quarter of the 6th century B.C. Medium: Terracotta Accession: 1977.11.3 On view in:Gallery 152

Terracotta oinochoe (jug)

Date: late 10th–early 9th century B.C. Medium: Terracotta Accession: 30.118.1 On view in:Gallery 171

Terracotta alabastron (perfume vase) in the form of a woman holding a dove

Date: mid-6th century B.C. Medium: Terracotta Accession: 30.11.6 On view in:Gallery 152

Terracotta loutrophoros (ceremonial vase for water)

Date: late 6th century B.C. Medium: Terracotta Accession: 27.228 On view in:On view