Height: 41 cm
Ø hem: 41 cm
Ø foot: 17 cm
This bell-krater belongs to Type 2. It is reconstructed from several fragments. It features a thickened and rounded edge, an inverted lip, and curved rod-shaped handles towards the top. The foot is a disc whose curved decorated walls are separated from the bottom of the vessel by an unglazed band.
The secondary decoration consists of a continuous band of olive branches that encircle the vessel below the lip. These are framed by two continuous unglazed bands. Beneath the figural frieze runs a continuous band of meander interspersed with geometrical figures, divided into four parts and dotted. Beneath the two handles opens a lush floral pattern with fanned palmettes. It is framed by garlands made of semi-palmettes. At the point where the handles join the body runs a decorative unglazed ribbing band.
A female figure wearing a chiton tip-toes from right to left.. Her hair is arranged in a bun and is held by an elaborate half-moon diadem (amphix). She wears a necklace rendered in white over-painting. The same technique is used to depict bracelets on both of her wrists. The character holds a circular offering tray (phiale) in her right hand. Used during libations, it is decorated with a pattern of dashes on the body and a solid line at the top, all over-painted in white slip. With her left hand she holds a long staff that terminates in a stylized representation of a laurel branch bedecked with a fillet.
A male character struts from right to left and looks backwards. He is naked, and holds a torch in his left hand and a thyrsus in his right hand. Both are frequent attributes of individuals participating in the komos, or Dionysian procession. The man wears a diadem on his head. A garment hangs from the man’s left arm. Above him appears a decorative motif consisting of an unglazed ivy leaf. Around the leaf cluster other leaves of smaller sizes. They are rendered white over-painting to suggest a perspective view. Other decorative elements enrich the scene: Two belts appear suspended between the two characters, one of which is rendered as an unglazed band with over-painted lines and dots. A circular tray (phiale?) is placed on the ground under the male character. This is also depicted with unglazed elements and dots of white slip aedicule or another type of cultic installation. Finally, a row of dense dots indicates the ground line where the scene takes place.
The iconographic scheme of the young man and woman racing was frequent on Italian ceramics of the fourth century BC. These scenes reinterpret earlier images found on pottery produced in Athens in the fifth century BC. These scenes were reinterpreted by Magna Graecian ceramists through original local productions that became more and more diffused. Eventually, they integrated the Attic productions.
Two male cloaked figures are depicted frontally. Each holds a stick in their right hands. Between the two figures there is a rectangular element identifiable as a diptych (díptychon) with a writing stylus. Behind the character on the right is a circular element that appears often in scenes of this type. It could represent an oscillum, a small circular sculpture that was hung from trees on the occasion of as Dionysiac feasts, both in Greek and Roman settings.
The vessel is an example of red-figure pottery produced in Apulia. From an iconographic point of view, the main difference between Southern Italian red-figure painting and that produced in Attica is found in the style of the human figures, both male and female. In Apulia, artists tended to represent the characters between the draperies. Their outlines of the human figures are more curved and sinuous than those on the Greek vessels. In addition, Apulian artists frequently used over-painting to complete the details of clothing, jewelry and sometimes anatomical details.
Based on formal and iconographic comparisons, this vessel can be dated between 360 and 340 BC.
Tiziano Cinti – Mauro Lo Castro