Side A: head of Eros

Side A: standing woman, head

Side A: Eros' wing

Side B: standing figure at left, upper half

Decoration around handle

Side B: standing figure at left, from the waist down

Collection: Cambridge, Harvard University Art Museums
Summary: Side A: Eros with two women (depilation scene). Side B: three draped youths.
Ware: Attic Red Figure
Painter: Attributed to the Dinos Painter
Context: From Sicily
Date: ca. 430 BC - ca. 420 BC

H. 0.303 m.; D. 0.308 m.

Shape: Bell krater
Region: Sicily
Period: Classical


Unbroken; minor flaking and abrasion; hard incrustation on the handles, rim, lower body, and foot.

Decoration Description:

Side A: A unique and lovely scene set in the women's quarters of a private dwelling. Two women are removing their pubic hair by singeing them with lighted oil lamps, a delicate procedure to say the least. The woman at right is being assisted by Eros himself, who kneels before her, his wings stretched out behind him. He wears a laurel wreath but is otherwise nude. With his left hand he holds the lamp, the flame of which is drawn with added white, and with the fingers of his right hand he pulls away the singed hairs. The woman holds her cloak up with her left hand, revealing her nudity, which is otherwise interrupted only by the crossed cords over her shoulders and between her breast. Her chiton, which the cords would help to hold in place when worn, lies rolled up on the stool at right (a diphros, with a cushion embroidered with stripes and dotted lines). A mirror and a laurel wreath with white berries hang on the wall above Eros. At the left, a second woman is seated to the right on a klismos. She sits on her himation and is nude except for a thigh-band drawn with dilute glaze and crossed cords like those worn by the first woman (these cords cross over the right breast, not between them). She holds a lighted oil lamp in her left hand and picks at her pubic hairs with the other, her face a frowning mask of concentration. Her curly hair, drawn with thinned glaze, is tied in a chignon on top of her head; the hair of the first woman is pulled up and tied in back, not on top. Above the seated woman, a fillet with white tassels hangs on the wall.

Side B: Three draped youths stand in conversation, the two at left facing the one at right. All three wear himations and apicate fillets of added white. The youth in the center has longer hair than the other two, and although he is the same height, this may indicate he is younger; in support of this interpretation is the fact that the youth at right reaches toward the central youth's head with his right hand, as though accosting him.

A laurel wreath circles the vase below the rim. Bands of egg-pattern nearly circle the handle roots; the area between the handle roots is reserved. Reserved stripes circle the side of the foot at top and bottom. The groundlines consist of groups of three maeanders to right alternating with cross squares on side B, and two cross-squares and one saltire-square on side A.

Shape Description:

Bell-krater: bell-shaped body tapering to a broad stem; disk foot; two horizontal handles, tilted upward; slender torus rim.

Collection History:

Anonymous loan.

Sources Used:

Sackler Museum files; AIA paper by A. Paul.

Other Bibliography:

A. J. Paul, "Eros and a Depilation Scene by the Dinos Painter," (paper abstract) AJA 97 (1993); M.I. Davies, "Merkins and Modes," Images et Société en Grèce ancienne (Lausanne 1984, publ. 1987) = Cahiers d'archéologie romande 36 (1987) 243-8.