Terracotta bell-krater (bowl for mixing wine and water), Attributed to the Painter of London E 497, Terracotta, Greek, Attic

Terracotta bell-krater (bowl for mixing wine and water)

Attributed to the Painter of London E 497
ca. 440 B.C.
Greek, Attic
Terracotta; red-figure
H. 11 5/8 in. (29.5 cm)
diameter of mouth 12 13/16 in. (32.6 cm)
Credit Line:
Fletcher Fund, 1924
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 159
Obverse, Orpheus among the Thracians
Reverse, libation scene

Orpheus, the best known of the mythical musicians, is associated with Thrace in the northernmost part of Greece. After he had descended into the underworld to find his beloved wife, Eurydice, and had lost her, he withdrew into solitude. Feeling rebuffed, Thracian women set upon Orpheus and killed him. Here he is shown seated on a rock formation and engrossed in his music. The central figure, wearing typical Thracian dress, identifies the setting, while the woman who holds a sickle in her left hand foreshadows Orpheus's fate.
Richter, Gisela M. A. 1925. "Athenian Red-Figured Vases." Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 20(5): pp. 130–31, fig. 7.

Richter, Gisela M. A. and Marjorie J. Milne. 1935. Shapes and Names of Athenian Vases. p. 8, fig. 61, New York: Plantin Press.

Richter, Gisela M. A. 1953. Handbook of the Greek Collection. pp. 100, 242, pl. 82c, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

Beazley, John D. 1963[1942]. Attic Red-figure Vase-painters, Vols. 1 and 2, 2nd ed. p. 1079, no. 2 top, Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Casson, Lionel. 1977. "The Thracians." Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 35(1): p. 2.

Maas, Martha and Jane McIntosh Snyder. 1989. Stringed Instruments of Ancient Greece. pp. 82, 101, fig. 4, New Haven: Yale University Press.

Seebass, Tilman. 1991. "The power of music in Greek vase painting: reflections on the visualisation of rhythmos order and epaoide (enchanting song)." Imago Musicae: International Yearbook of Musical Iconography, 8: p. 23, fig. 11.

Kossatz-Deissmann, Anneliese, Brigitte Servais-Soyez, Fulvio Canciani, Giovannangelo Camporeale, Hans Peter Isler, Ingrid Krauskopf, Odette Touchefeu-Meynier, Marcel Le Glay, and Dr. Jean-Charles Balty. 1994. Oidipous-Theseus, Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae, Vol. 7. Orpheus, no. 26, Zürich: Artemis Verlag.

Bundrick, Sheramy. 2005. Music and Image in Fifth-century Athens. fig. 76, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.