Terracotta loutrophoros (ceremonial vase for water)

Greek, Attic

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 154

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.

Terracotta loutrophoros (ceremonial vase for water), Terracotta, Greek, Attic

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