Terracotta psykter (vase for cooling wine)

Attributed to Oltos

Period: Archaic

Date: ca. 520–510 B.C.

Culture: Greek, Attic

Medium: Terracotta; red-figure

Dimensions: H. 11 7/8 in. (30.20 cm)

Classification: Vases

Credit Line: Gift of Norbert Schimmel Trust, 1989

Accession Number: 1989.281.69


This procession of identically dressed foot soldiers seems to advance with military precision. A number of other dolphin-riding hoplites appear on vases of this period. All are accompanied by a flute player, suggesting that this scene illustrates a dramatic chorus, probably from a contemporary play. The six dolphins would have seemed to leap and dive as the psykter bobbed in the ice water inside a large krater.