Art of Antiquity: A Monumental Greek Wine Vessel

Diplyon Krater, Greece, c. 780 BC. Painted ceramic. H: 123 cm (4 feet). National Archaeological Museum, Athens.

Made almost 3,000 years ago, this 4-feet jar is a krater, a vessel used for mixing wine and water, particularly at a drinking party. It is one of the earliest examples of a narrative scene in Greek pottery as opposed to pottery with purely decorative surfaces. It is also monumental in its attention to details. The painted narrative centers on a lay-out ceremony where the dead man (in the upper panel) is shown lying on a bier, surrounded by mourners, horse-drawn chariots and shield-yielding warriors. Some of these elements are repeated in the lower panel. The highly intricate design of this vessel is a sure indication that it was made for an influential individual or aristocrat.

Details of the krater

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