Main panel: wreath above seated woman

Main panel: seated woman

Main panel: loom

Main panel: head of seated woman

Main panel: loom

Main panel: youth on right, upper half

Collection: Cambridge, Harvard University Art Museums
Summary: Domestic scene, with loom.
Ware: Attic Red Figure
Context: Said to be from Vari
Date: ca. 440 BC - ca. 430 BC

H. 0.346 m.

Shape: Hydria-kalpis
Beazley Number: 8184
Region: Attica
Period: Classical


Broken and repaired, with repainting of cracks and small gaps. Hole in the bottom, perhaps intentional.

Decoration Description:

A seated mother hands an infant boy to a standing woman, perhaps a nurse, who gazes across at the beardless youth standing at right, possibly the father. The mother sits to the left on a klismos, her feet resting on a low stool in the form of a rectangular block. She wears a chiton, himation, and sakkos. The latter, decorated with dotted lines and zigzags, has a small top-knot indicating it is made in the "sprang" technique. A laurel wreath hangs on the wall above the woman. The young man wears a himation and rests his weight on a tall staff, which he holds with his left hand; his right hand rests within the himation. His right leg is relaxed, with the foot drawn back. The nurse bends to receive the child, who reaches out to her with both hands. The string of charms across the infant's chest are to protect it from sickness. The nurse wears a chiton and a belted tunic of Thracian type, with long sleeves and dentilated borders; it indicates that she is of barbarian origin and is probably a slave. Behind and to the left of the nurse is a tall loom, consisting of a framework of slender poles, lashed together and well-braced. The threads of the warp are drawn with fine relief lines, and there are ten small weights at the ends. The cloth being produced is rolled up at the top, but enough is visible to see that it has a dark, sawtooth pattern along the sides, a motif common on Thracian garments, such as the long cloak called a zeira.

Egg pattern around the rim and part way around the roots of the handles; the area between the handle roots is reserved, as is the top of the mouth. Above the figures, framed by horizontal stripes, is a laurel wreath with berries. The groundline consists of groups of three maeanders to left alternating with saltire-squares.

Shape Description:

Kalpis hydria. This example has a rather tapering body and a cyma foot; the top of the mouth is flat, rather than beveled.

Collection History:

Bequest of David M. Robinson.

Sources Used:

CVA, Robinson 2.

Other Bibliography:

Robinson exhibition catalogue 1961, no. 101; CVA, Robinson 2, 31-32, pl. 43.