The Ancient Library

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On this page: Vases (continued)



artist is lavished even on small vases which were little more than playthings for chil­dren, and are covered with designs repre­senting the games of childhood.

(4) Vases of larger dimensions, in the shape of a hydria, a calpis, a celebe, a crater, or an amphora, with characteristic dif­ferences in their subjects. The amphora often exhibits a betrothal, or a wedding procession, with the bride and a number of maidens bringing presents of vases, or caskets of jewels. The pelike and hydria frequently show us scenes of ordinary life, interiors with ladies either at their toilet, or else at their work surrounded by pet birds. The crater and canthdnts are usually reserved for Dionysiac subjects.1

(5) Vases with gilded ornaments, or with reliefs touched up with gold. From the 4th century onwards it became common to gild certain parts of the costume, such as bracelets, earrings, beads in necklaces, as well as berries in garlands of bay or myrtle. On small vases of the Attic style gilding is often applied with discretion, while on larger vases it is used to excess. The brilliancy of the painting is, at the same time, often enhanced by touches of bright colour, and tints of red, green, white, blue, and violet are applied to the draperies. One of the most beautiful vases of this type is the pelike founded at Camlrus, now in the British Museum. The scene is Peleus carrying off Thetis (Vase Boom III, E 451). The peplos, which is falling to the ground from the white form of the goddess, is of a sea-green with a white border ; she herself and her attendant Nymphs are richly adorned with gold, while the field of the de­sign is filled with figures floating gracefully in the air (Encycl. Brit, xix pi. v).

(6) Similarly we have an Athenian red-figured lecythus, found at Marion in Cyprus, representing the death of the Sphinx at the hand of (Edipus in the presence of Athene, .Eneas, Apollo, and the Dioscuri, with accessories of white colour and gilding on the forms of the Sphinx and Athene. It is ascribed to 370 b.c. (Journ. Hellenic Studies, viii 320, pi. 81).

1 The hydria is a large water vase (see fig. 5 and vessels, fig. 1, no. 17) ; the calpis, a modification of the hydria, with a rounder body, a shorter neck, and with cylindrical handles (it., no. 16); the celebe, a crater with columnar handles (no. 24); the am­phora is a large oval vase with two handles (nos. 20-23); the pelike, an amphora with rather large handles, and a body broader below than above (no. 19}; and the cantharus, a wine-cup with two long ears (no. 12).

(7) The u-hite Ifcythi of Attica. The neck and foot of the lecythus'' are covered with a very brilliant black varnish, while the body has a white ground with figures carelessly but skilfully drawn in reddish-brown outline and coarsely filled in with colours. Such lecythi are only found in tombs in the neighbourhood of Athens. Aristophanes, in a play belonging to 392 b.c., speaks of " those who paint lecythi for the dead " (Eccl. 996). Their manufacture probably extended over the 4th and 3rd centuries b.c., and especially over B.C. 350-300. We learn from works of art that they were used at the laying out (prdthSsis) of the dead body. Among the subjects most commonly represented on them are (1) the laying out of the body, (2) lamentations at the tomb, (-3) funeral offerings (fig. 14), (4) Charon and the ferry-boat (Miss Harrison, I.e., p. 586); more rarely, we have the de­position of the body treated with consum­mate grace (Collignon, fig. 119). One of the specimens in the British Museum shows

(14) * FUNERAL OFFERINOS ON ATHENIAN LECYTHUS. (Stackelberg, GnJl>.r it, Hillenen, Taf. ilv.)

Electra at the tomb of Agamemnon (Birch, p. 395; Vase Room, III, case F). As a dif­ferent type of vase with polychrome paint­ing on a white ground, we have a fine cylix from a Rhodian tomb, now in the British Museum, representing Aphrodite seated on the back of a flying swan (Vase Room III D 52). It has been well remarked that " for delicacy of touch and refined beauty of drawing this painting is quite unrivalled. The exquisite loveliness of Aphrodite's head and the pure grace of her profile, show a combination of mechanical skill united to imaginative power and realiza-

2 A vase of tall cylindrical shape, with a long, narrow neck (nee vessels, fig. 1, no. 33).

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