|Collection:||Indiana University Art Museum|
|Summary:||Sides A and B: horse protome on panel, dolphin on neck.|
|Ware:||Attic Black Figure|
|Painter:||Attributed to the Painter H1|
|Context:||Possibly from Etruria|
|Date:||ca. 560 BC - ca. 550 BC|
H. 38.5 cm., W. 24.2 cm., volume 7 liters.
Horse head amphorae all seem to have been produced during the first half of the sixth century. The shape of this vase points to a date of 560-550.
Panel: horse protome facing right, including forelegs. The horse is shown with halter, consisting of cheek-strap and noseband joined at obtuse angles by ring of concentric circles slightly flattened into triangular form. Neck: dolphin facing left. Added red on mask of dolphin, individually applied to strands of horse's mane, and for iris of eye. On Side B, the same, with minor differences, especially in the zoologically incorrect representation of the dolphin with ventral fin.
This vase has been included in the recent studies of horse-head amphorae by Birchall (
loc. cit.). With the addition of the Indiana University horse-head neck-amphora, four vases can be attributed to Painter H1, for whom a more descriptive name will be suggested below.
Painter H1 is an artist of interesting stylistic contrasts, on the one hand displaying a careful, precise draftsmanship, especially in incision, and on the other hand seeking monumentality and daring the unconventional. His horses are large, or at least tall (
Two of the four amphorae attributed to Painter H1, the exhibited vase and
Painter H1 also departs from common practice by adding forelegs to the horse protome. The inclusion of forelegs on horse protomai was preferred by Corinthian artists and appears frequently on aryballoi and alabastra of the late seventh and early sixth century B.C. The forelegs on facing horse protomai decorating the neck of a late seventh century B.C. amphora from Vari by the Lion Painter (
The amphora in Athens,
Large horse-head amphorae were primarily, but not exclusively, used as funerary vases, serving as cinerary containers, tomb markers, and grave goods. By the Archaic Period, the funerary and chthonian association of the horse had long been entrenched in Greek culture. The sacrifice and entombment of horses, as part of the funerary rite in some cases, and the frequent appearance of horses on funerary vases of the Geometric period are but two reflections of the strength of this association.
The conjunction of dolphin and horse on the Indiana University horse-head amphora is further support for an interpretation first suggested by Malten
(infra) that on horse-head amphorae, the horse signifies Poseidon. Creato tamer of the horse, Poseidon was a chthonian deity by virtue of his dwelling deep under the sea. Swirling against and under the land, the sea had its energy-filled violence symbolized by the horse, its beneficent aspects by the dolphin-both attributes of Poseidon. As ravisher of Demeter in the guise of a horse, and in his assimilation into Erechtheus, Poseidon shared her association with death and regeneration. Poseidon was both gaie-ochos (earth supporter) and enosichthon (earth shaker). In his horse aspect he was worshipped with Athena hippia, at Kolonos in Attica, a cult transplanted from Corinth (Yalouris, infra, pp. 57 ff.). Yalouris has collected ample evidence in vase painting, coinage, and small-scale dedications, of the connection between Athena and Poseidon as elements in the myth of Bellerophon. His suggestion (ibid., p. 54) that the bearded male head which appears for example, on one side of a horse-head neck-amphora in the Louvre, (
The horse-head amphorae all seem to have been produced during the first half of the sixth century B.C. The Indiana horse-head neck-amphora is no exception, having, on the one hand, a fully developed and assured composition and draftsmanship, and on the other hand, the forelegs which relate it to the earlier Corinthian tradition. On the basis of the anatomical structure of the horse, Moore
(infra) has given a dating of 575-550 B.C. The shape of the vase has its closest parallels among vases dated to the decade 560-550 B.C. An ovoid neck-amphora in Toledo, n. 74.45, painted "in the Manner of Lydos," and an amphora in Heidelberg ( CVA Germany 10, Heidelberg 1, pl. 32, 1 and 2) attributed to Sakonides by Neutsch, Rumpf, and Beazley, are not far from the Indiana vase. The origin of this vase was probably Etruria, as its modern tenancy in Bellinzona would suggest. The production of neck-amphorae primarily for export to Etruscan markets after c. 575 B.C. also supports a date well into the second quarter of the sixth century B.C. for the Indiana neck-amphora.
For additional information on horse-head amphorae and their interpretation:
JdI 22 (1907) 78-105 AJA 38 (1934) 526-7 MusHelv 7 (1950) 19-101 u. al., Kunst der Antike, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg (Mainz 1977) 246
Compact ovoid neck-amphora with inverted echinus foot, echinus lip, and cylindrical handles; broad, slightly flared neck. Above the foot a frieze, 4.0 cm high, of 28 rays; reserved panel from mid-belly to top of shoulder.
Fabric 6 YR-6.5-5 on the Munsell scale, light reddish pink-brown to reddish yellow; structure tight with pores and inclusions of calcine and fine grog, medium-hard to soft.
Ex collection Dr. Athos Moretti, Bellinzona, Switzerland.
Indiana University Art Museum Bulletin (1977) 47, 63