Base with rays

Side B: lion at left and sphinx

Side B: sphinx

Side A: standing hoplite at left, from the knees up

Side A: crouching hoplite at right, and stomping hoplite at right

Handle two: sphinx on top

Collection: Cambridge, Harvard University Art Museums
Summary: Side A: Fight, with frontal chariot. Side B: Sphinx between lions.
Ware: Attic Black Figure
Painter: Attributed to Lydos
Date: ca. 560 BC - ca. 550 BC

H. 0.332 m.; D. 0.357 m.; D. with handles 0.44 m.

Primary Citation: ABV, 108, 9; Beazley Addenda 2, 29.
Shape: Column krater
Beazley Number: 310155
Period: Archaic


Numerous drill holes are the remains of extensive ancient repairs. No pieces missing. Much abrasion of dull black glaze, with consequent loss of much added white.

Decoration Description:

Side A: In the center, a quadriga and charioteer are represented full front, with the horses and chariot wheels drastically foreshortened. The charioteer wears a red petasos and a long red chiton (instead of the more usual white). The two pole horses turn to face one another, while the trace horses look away to left and right, the usual arrangement in such a composition. Above the horses are two birds, probably eagles, flying to left and right with red-striped wings. On either side of the quadriga are pairs of dueling hoplites, each of whom wears a cuirass, red greaves, and a red Corinthian helmet (three with low crests, one with a silted crest). In the left-hand group, a warrior carrying a Theban shield attacks with a spear. His enemy, carrying a round shield, flees to the right but looks back at his opponent; the artist apparently forgot to provide him with a weapon. In the group at right, a spearman attacks to the left, his left foot raised to trample his enemy, who has fallen to one knee. The apparent loser carries a Theban shield, the victor a round shield with a large serpent device in the round. In both groups, the attacker is also armed with a sword and the insides of the Theban shields are painted red. Despite the formality of the design, we should imagine the chariot in the midst of a mêlée. This being so, the fight must be a legendary one, as chariots are were not used in contemporary combat. In the second half of the Sixth century, frontal chariots, originally a Corinthian motif, became increasingly common, usually without any indication of accompanying combat. Side B: Winged sphinx seated to right between two lions. The sphinx has outstretched wings, an upright tail, and long hair bound with a red fillet. The face and breast were painted white but this has flaked off, taking with it many facial details. There is a broad red band on each wing. The lions stand toward the sphinx but turn to face the opposite direction. Added red is used for the faces and other details, including a row of dots on the breast. Below each lion is a lotus bud.

Red-tipped lotus buds on top of the rim. On each handle plate is a seated sphinx very similar to that on Side B but with a red face and breast. Rows of parallel zigzags on the sides of the rim. The figure panels are framed above with alternating red and black tongues. Rays on the lower body. The handles, neck, and foot are black. A pair of added red stripes circles the body below the panels; three more circle the foot. There is a red fillet between foot and body.

Shape Description:

The shape is relatively standard for early Attic column-kraters, which retain close similarity to the Corinthian prototypes, with a low neck, echinus foot, and a diameter that exceeds the height.


Buitron No. 8

Collection History:

Bequest of Joseph C. Hoppin. Bought in Rome in 1900.

Sources Used:

CVA, Hoppin-Gallatin; Buitron 1972.

Other Bibliography:

CVA, Hoppin-Gallatin, USA 1, 4, pl. 3 (where it is erroneously classified as Chalcidian); Buitron 1972, 26-27, no. 8; Beazley 1951, 43-44.