Side A, lower register: bearded man, fleeing woman

Side B, lower register: seated woman with mirror

Side A, upper register: Cheiron

Side A, lower register: Boreas abducting Oriethyia

Side A, upper register: Nereids

Side A, upper register: Peleus and Thetis

Collection: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Summary: Upper register: Peleus abducting Thetis. Lower register: Boreas pursuing Oreithyia (or Zephyros pursuing Phoibe).
Ware: Attic Red Figure
Painter: Attributed to the Niobid Painter
Date: ca. 460 BC - ca. 450 BC

H 0.48 m D 0.5 m

Shape: Calyx krater
Beazley Number: 5958
Period: Early Classical

Decoration Description:

The vase is divided into two pictorial registers. Above the top one is an acanthus pattern, bordered above and below by reserved bands. Separating the two registers is an egg-and-dart pattern, also bordered by reserved bands. Finally, below the lower register is a diagonal acanthus scroll, bordered by reserve bands.

Side A: In the upper register, Peleus abducts the sea nymph Thetis. They are in the center of the composition, Thetis on the right, her arms flung out as she attempts to escape to the right, and Peleus on the left, bending toward her as he grasps her about the waist. On the far left (over the handle) are two Nereids in chitons, running to the center of the composition. One of them carries a dolphin. To the right are two more Nereids; one also running to the center, while the other (closest to Peleus) runs in the opposite direction, waving a dolphin. On the far left (over the handle) is a Nereid in chiton and mantle running to the left. In front of her is another Nereid, running to the right as she gestures over her shoulder at the abduction. To the left of her is Chiron, standing calmly in profile to the left, holding a tree branch in his right hand. Before him is another Nereid, running to the right and looking back at Peleus and Thetis.

In the lower register, Boreas, the North Wind, is shown in pursuit of Oreithyia. He is in the center of the composition, running to the right with his wings spread behind him. He wears a short chiton. He is grabbing Oreithyia by the right arm, as she attempts to escape him. She wears a long-sleeved chiton and a mantle. Behind Boreas is a woman, running to the left and throwing her hands up in dismay as she looks back at him. In front of her, on the left, is a man leaning on a staff, wearing a mantle; these two figures are possibly Oreithyia's mother and father, Erechtheus, a legendary king of Athens. Behind Erechtheus, over the handle, is a palmette. On the far right, in front of Oreithyia, is a woman running to the right, holding something in her hand; Keuls (52) suggests that it is the key to the bridal chamber, represented by a Doric column on the right.

Side B: The scenes from Side A are continued here. In the center of the top register stands Nereus, Thetis' father. He is in profile to the left, wearing a long robe and mantle and holding a staff; his static position forms a contrast to the action on the other side. In front of him to the left are three Nereids, two running to the right, and the third (closest to him) running to the left. Behind him are two more Nereids, running to the left.

Oreithyia is shown seated in the women's chambers. She is in profile to the right, seated on a stool and holding a spindle. Behind her is a Doric column (to indicate that she is inside) and two women, in profile to the right, gesturing to her. Before her is another woman, facing her and also gesturing. On the far right is a half open door, symbolic of her initiation to sex and marriage (Keuls, 52). To the right of the door, over the handle, is another palmette.

Collection History:

Mary S. and Edward J. Holmes Fund.

Sources Used:

C. Vermeule "Masterpieces of Greek Vase Painting, about 1900 B.C. - 340 B.C." Bulletin, Museum of Fine Arts 1980, 34-35; Keuls 1985, 52, pl. 35

Other Bibliography:

no author "Two Museums Acquire New Vases" Archaeology 26 (April 1973), 145