Handle: plastically molded snake

Animal frieze: horse and bird

Overview: handles right and left

Collection: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Summary: Amphora with friezes of grazing horses and waterbirds, and plastically modeled handles in the shape of snakes.
Ware: Attic Geometric
Painter: Attributed to the Birdseed Painter
Attributed By: J. Davison
Context: From Attica
Date: ca. 735 BC - ca. 720 BC

H. 0.605 m., D. 0.35 m.

Shape: Amphora
Ceramic Phase: LG IIa
Region: Attica
Period: Geometric

Decoration Description:

The clay is yellow-brown varying to red-brown; the decoration is in somewhat lustrous black glaze. The body is ovoid, with a large, nearly cylindrical neck, flaring at the top. There are plastically modeled serpents on the wide handles. On the lip, black dots are connected by diagonal lines and under the lip a row of dotted lozenges is bounded by horizontal lines; there are black areas under the handles separating the panels on the neck. These panels have a hatched meander above, a hatched meander and dotted lozenges below. Between them are vertical bands as follows: latticed bands, erect hatched meanders, checkered bands, and double chevrons, decorated by vertical lines. In panels at the top of body, grazing horses with a water-bird under each are represented. The ornaments in the field are chevrons and zigzags. Below the handles, zones of ornament are separated by horizontal lines. The zones are as follows (top to bottom): dotted lozenge band, complicated hatched meander, dotted lozenge band, frieze of water-birds with hatched bodies, latticed triangles below and rows of dots between the necks, opposed latticed triangles 6) a broad band of checker pattern 7) compressed lozenge band, and finally erect hatched triangles. On the foot are dotted circles connected by diagonal lines. On the handles are longitudinal lines and rows of dots on the serpents, and latticed triangles between their folds.

Three motifs and their placement on the vase help to identify this workshop: The stiff-legged birds in silhouette, the rendering of the double meander, the interlocking rows of "wolf teeth," or hatched triangles (Coldstream 67).

Material Description:

Clay yellow-brown varying to red-brown.

Collection History:

Henry L. Pierce Fund, 1898.

Sources Used:

Fairbanks 1928, 77, n. 261, pl. 20; Davison 1961,55-56, fig. 76; Coldstream 1968, 67-69; T. Rhombos The Iconography of Attic Late Geometric II Pottery (Jonsered 1988) 216-217, n. 236

Other Bibliography:

Lane 1963, pl. 6