Detail of handle top

Overview with handle in profile

Collection: Indiana University Art Museum
Summary: Shoulder field: meander, diamond-net, and tongue patterns. Top of handle attachment: reserved clay snakes.
Ware: Attic Black Figure
Painter: Class of London B 632
Date: ca. 520 BC - 490 BC

h. 24.1 cm; h. (to handle top) 24.5 cm; w. 14.2 cm; d. of foot 8.65 cm; liquid contents ca. 1.75 liters.

Primary Citation: Moon 1979, no. 80, p. 142
Shape: Oinochoe
Beazley Number: 5155
Period: Archaic

Decoration Description:

All body decoration has been painted over added white, the lower portion above the foot shows fifty slender rays, rising from a narrow black line a short distance above the purple line which covers the ridge between body and foot.

The shoulder field is separated into three parts: below, the meander; in the middle (and main) zone, the diamond net-pattern; above, a frieze of tongues. All ornaments are precisely and carefully drawn. The lower meander border features two interlocking battlement meanders which in their crossings form a swastika pattern; small squares are inserted into the interstices. Diamond-shaped cores fill the individual fields of the net-pattern. The tongue-pattern consists of a thin, filigree-like outer border and a solid, broad and elongated U-shaped design within. Added red: the top of the lip is covered with red and a double fillet encircles the body just below the handle attachment.

The shape of the vessel with its solid, rotund members and the careful modelling of individual parts bespeak its Late Archaic date. The modelling of the snakes, the form of the handle, the shape of the mouth, neck and shoulder correspond very closely to Villa Giulia 535: P. Mingazzini, Vasi della Collezione Castellani (Rome 1930) p. 283, pl. 80.2; as well as to the name vase in London, London B 632. For another example of plastic snakes around a trefoil, see Hoppin 1924, 145. For elaborately painted plastic snakes at the base of the handles of a black-figure neck-amphora, see Louvre F 99 (ABV, 228). Plastic animal heads occasionally take the place of rotelles on the handles of oinochoai and other vases. For the Class of London B 632, ABV, 425.

Shape Description:

The oinochoe stands on a broad disk foot with a sharply precisioned, finely curved torus at the outside. The interior of the foot moves up in a swift, even curve to the bottom. Between the foot and the body, topping the low stem, projects a fine, sharp ridge. The body rises in a short, convex flare; thereabove the wall follows in a broad, inverted egg-shape. The wide shoulder runs in an even rise, the neck is set off above by a sharp, somewhat undercut step. It is broad, and the trefoil is formed by a very deep pinch, somewhat towards the front. The top of the lip is flattened and gently carinated, projecting outwards. The solid, round handle rises vertically from the shoulder and turns towards the lip in a rather flat curve. To either side of the handle attachments, the front part of a snake winds on top of the lip, molded in reserved clay. The body design has been rendered in short, careful lines, the modeling of the head includes bumps for the ears.

Material Description:

Dense clay with fine, sandy structure, very few enclosures, medium-hard. 6.5 YR 7.5/5 pink light-brown to reddish-yellow (Munsell).


Moon No. 80

Sources Used:

Moon 1979, no. 80, p. 142