Base, handle at rear

Detail of quatrefoil

Neck, detail of lion panel


Horse at center

Detail of checkerboard pattern

Collection: Cambridge, Harvard University Art Museums
Summary: Bands of geometric patternwork, with animals in metopes.
Ware: Geometric
Date: ca. 725 BC - ca. 700 BC

H. 0.522 m.; D. Mouth 0.26 m.; D. Body 0.352 m.

Shape: Oinochoe
Ceramic Phase: Late Geometric II
Period: Geometric


Broken and repaired, with portions of the rim and handle restored. Minor surface abrasion.

Decoration Description:

The entire vessel, from rim to lower body, is covered with bands of geometric patternwork separated by groups of three or four stripes. From top to bottom, the sequence is as follows: hatched key-pattern to left; dotted lozenges; a row of long-necked waterbirds separated by rows of dots; band of metopes; dotted lozenges; hatched key-pattern to left; rows of dots; band of metopes; dotted lozenges; hatched key-pattern to left; dotted lozenges; band of metopes; dotted lozenges; hatched key-pattern to left; dotted lozenges; crosshatched triangles with spiked tops, separated by dots; dotted lozenges. The bands of metopes on the neck, shoulder, and mid-body contain schematically rendered animals set within small panels ("metopes"), some singly, others in pairs. Other metopes contain hatched swastikas, rosettes, diamonds, or checkerboards. These and the animal metopes alternate with metopes containing horizontal zigzags, all separated by narrow "triglyphs" consisting of latticework framed by triple vertical lines. On the front of the neck is a metope containing a roaring lion, whose dark black body is the most prominent element on this side and serves, in conjunction with the handle, to define the vertical axis of the vase. Other animals in the metopes include two standing horses with water birds on their backs, a grazing horse with a waterbird beneath it, a larger pair of confronting waterbirds, a pair of confronting goats, and two additional lions. In every case, all available space around the animals is filled with numerous geometric motifs — circles, zigzags, chevrons, dots, hatched diamonds — as well as small waterbirds. The plastic "snakes" on the handle are decorated with dots. Painted on the handle proper is a more realistic snake, with head and dotted eye, which is surrounded by dots, waterbirds, and swastikas. There are groups of parallel lines on top of the rim. The foot and lowermost body are black.

Shape Description:

Ovoid body. Tall, wide, concave neck rising to a flaring rim, not offset. Top of mouth flattened. Torus foot. High-swung vertical strap handle from shoulder to rim. The cylindrical ribs that run along either side of the handle are probably intended to suggest snakes, though they lack distinct heads.

Collection History:

Purchase, Francis H. Burr Fund.

Sources Used:

Sackler Museum files.