Apulian Pottery - Red-Figure Ware: Pelike
Inv. No.: M5.12
Date: c. 320 BC
On loan from Graham Geddes.
A large pelike with a rounded body that is widest towards its base. The concave, narrow neck flares into a wide mouth with a lip that has an echinus-shaped profile. It is grooved underneath and there is a moulded ridge at the top of the neck. The handles are round in cross section and pass from the top of the neck, below the ridge, to the shoulder. A groove separates the body from the foot which is in two degrees. The top section is flaring in shape. The wide, narrow bottom section also has a flaring profile. There is a wide groove on its top and a narrow groove on its edge, towards the top. The vase is painted black inside, although this is thin in places. It is black on the outside with red-figure decoration and floral and geometric decorations with added white, yellow, red and red wash. The black has fired red in places, especially towards the base, on the foot and the right handle. The underside of the lip and the groove between the body and the foot are reserved. The red-figure scenes with Erotes probably relate to marriage preparations; this was common theme used on pelikai by the Darius Painter, an important late Apulian vase painter, and others who were influenced by him. A few chips are missing from the lip and there is some wear.
Pelikai were used as containers for oil, wine and water. Vases like this could have been used in marriage celebrations, but were also used for funerary purposes.
A wheel-thrown and turned vase with hand-made handles.
- Beneath the handles on each side there is an elaborate red-figure palmette and volute pattern.
- Side A: on the neck is a band of red-figure lotus and palmette between reserved lines with white three dot fills. White is used for the palmette hearts and for dots on the scrolls. Below is a band of dotted ovolo with added white and then a black line.
- At the top, on the body, is a band of white pendants. The red-figure scene is set on a ground line of black meander that continues around the vase. The meander pattern is interrupted on this side by two crossed square patterns with outline squares inside each division. Three centrally placed meander patterns separate the crossed square segments. There is also a saltire cross in the meander ground line under the left handle. The main figure is that of a draped woman who sits on an elaborate white/yellow stool with red details, facing right with a (worn) white kalathos behind her left knee. She wears red slippers and her left foot rests on a footstool with red and white details. She holds a ball of white wool above the kalathos with her left hand and wears a diadem, earring, double bead necklace, double bracelets and bead anklets, all painted in white. To her right is a standing nude man, facing left. He is shown in three-quarter view with a profile head. He has a cloak draped over his left arm and leans on a knotted white stick below this arm. He also holds a white strigil in his right hand and wears a white laurel wreath in his hair. To the left of the central woman is another female figure. She is dressed in a chiton and white slippers and stands, leaning to the right with her left foot resting on a short column with ionic volutes painted in white with yellow details. She holds out an open white box. Her hair is bound in a kekryphalos with a white ribbon and she wears a diadem, an earring, double bracelets and bead anklets, all painted in white. A white/yellow fillet hangs in the field to the right of her knee. Behind her head is a red and white rosette while to the right is a white/yellow alabastron. To the right of the nude male is a woman dressed in a chiton and red and white slippers with a kekryphalos on her head, seated on a white three-legged stool. She faces left with her body shown in three-quarter view and her head in profile. She wears a stephane, an earring, a double bead necklace, double bracelets on both arms and anklets; all are white. She is looking at a red mirror with white/yellow details that she holds in her right hand. A dotted white line is used for the ground. At the top of the scene are two seated women framing a flying Eros with a dove carrying a laurel wreath flying above him. The left-hand woman is seated on a sack. She faces right, holding a yellow and white ball on her left knee and a white fan in her right hand. The woman on the right has a three-quarter body that faces right and a profile head that faces left. She holds a red tambourine with white and yellow details in her left hand. The Eros and the dove fly to the left. The women and Eros have similar hairstyles: each has a kekryphalos. The women also have an earring, double bead necklaces, double bracelets and anklets (all in white) and red and white shoes. White is used for details on the dove and also for the wings of Eros and for his jewellery: a diadem, an earring, a necklace, baldric, double bead thigh rings on his left thigh and four anklets on each ankle. He holds a rosette chain in his right hand and a phiale and a yellow/white iynx in his left.
- Side B: on the neck is a red-figure laurel pattern with white three dot fruits placed between red lines. The laurel sprays enclose a central rosette with red petals with white edges, yellow/white dots at the inner edge and a yellow/white centre. Below this is a band of black ovolo pattern and then a black line.
- At the top of the main scene on this side is a row of yellow/white circles. On the left is a standing woman wearing a peplos and white slippers with a frontal body and a profile head, facing right. She holds a cista up with her right hand and a tambourine hangs from her left. There is a red fillet with white details hanging beneath the box and a phiale hangs in the field to the right of the fillet. The woman wears a kekryphalos and the following white jewellery: diadem, earring, necklace and double bracelets. On the right is a nude male figure with a three-quarter body and a profile head, facing left, seated on a rock covered with folded drapery. He holds an "apple branch" with white stem and fruit in his left hand and a phiale with a white/yellow wreath below in his right. There is a white fillet in his hair and a fillet hangs in the field to the right. White and/or yellow are used for details on all objects. At the top, between the figures, is an Eros with a three-quarter body facing left and a profile head facing right, also seated on drapery. He wears a kekryphalos in his hair and jewellery (all painted in white): diadem, earring, necklace, bead baldric, double bead thigh rings on his left thigh, four anklets on his left leg and a bead one on his right ankle plus double bracelets. He holds a phiale in his right hand. There is a white and red window in the field at the top left and a red ball with white details below. A white "Y" or vestigial ivy leaf is placed in the field at top right.
Attributed to the workshop of the Darius/Underworld Painters.
Gow, A. S. F., "I U G J , R O M B O S , RHOMBUS, TURBO", Journal of Hellenic Studies, LIV (1934), 1-13 (re the iynx).
Schmidt, M., "Some Remarks on the Subjects of South Italian Vases", The Art of South Italy: Vases from Magna Graecia, eds. M. E. Mayo and K. Hamma, Richmond, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, 1982, 23-36.
Sinos, R. and J. Oakley, The Wedding in Ancient Athens, Madison, University of Wisconsin Press, 1993.
Smith, H. R. W., Funerary Symbolism in Apulian Vase-Painting, ed. J. K. Anderson, Berkeley, University of California Press, 1976.
Trendall, A. D., Red Figure Vases of South Italy and Sicily: a Handbook, London, Thames and Hudson, 1989, 89-92.
Trendall, A. D. and A. Cambitoglou, First Supplement to the Red-Figured Vases of Apulia, University of London, Institute of Classical Studies Bulletin Supplement No. 42, 1983, 68-91.
Trendall, A. D. and A. Cambitoglou, The Red-Figured Vases of Apulia, Oxford, Clarendon, 1982, II, 473-546.
Green, J. R., Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum, USA 22, Philadelphia 1 (1986), Plates 11-12 (pelike with bridal scenes).
Hafner, G., Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum, Deutschland 8, Karlsruhe 2 (1952), Tafel 59, 5-6 (pelike with bridal scenes).
Jentoft-Nilsen, M. R. (and A. D. Trendall), Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum, USA 27, The J. Paul Getty Museum 4 (1991), Plates 198-200 (pelike by the Darius Painter).
Kranz, P. and R. Lullies, Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum, Deutschland 38, Kassel 2 (1975), Tafel 74, 1-2.
Trendall, A. D., Red Figure Vases of South Italy and Sicily: a Handbook, London, Thames and Hudson, 1989, Fig. 212 (pelike from the Underworld Group with a bridal scene).
Trendall, A. D. and A. Cambitoglou, The Red-Figured Vases of Apulia, Oxford, Clarendon, 1982, II, Plate 175, 2 (pelike by the Darius Painter with a bridal scene).