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Three-dimensional approximation of the vase

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Overview: exterior

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Room with three-dimensional approximations of Greek vases in the British M...

Collection: London, British Museum
Summary: Side A: Wedding Procession. Side B: Five female figures. Stand A: Peleus wrestling with Thetis. Stand B: Dionysos and maenads.
Ware: Attic Black Figure
Date: ca. 500 BC - ca. 480 BC

H 0.39m

Shape: Lebes gamikos
Beazley Number: 513
Period: Late Archaic

Decoration Description:

Side A: The bride and groom stand to the left, facing right in a quadriga, pulled by black and white horses. The bride holds her veil away from her face with a gesture typical of brides and wives (Hague 1988, 32-37). They are accompanied by a male figure who strums the kithara with a plektron (Apollo?) and the wreathed god Dionysos, holding a branching vine. At the far right female figure (Artemis?) holds a torch to lead the way. A fawn follows her. The bearded groom may be Zeus who holds the reins with both hands. Both he and his bride (Hera?) are dressed in long chitons and himatia, as are Apollo, Dionysos, and Artemis at the right.

Side B: Five female figures face the right. Two of them stand side by side. They all wear long embroidered chitons and himatia. The first and third hold out wreaths in their left hands, the second is veiled in a himation, the fourth and fifth have fillets and raise their left hands.

Lid: The finial is glazed in black. Below this there is a frieze of pendants, followed by a frieze of circumscribed lotus buds, and finally by an ivy chain.

On the lebes at the top of the shoulder, above the main design is a band of tongue pattern. The design is enclosed in a panel. On the lower body is a band of rays.

Stand: Side A: Peleus attacks from the left and grabs Thetis, his future bride, around the waist and buttocks. To do this he uses a standard wrestling hold. The muscular young hero wears a fillet, cuirass, and short chiton. She clearly resists his advances, her arms flying akimbo as she looks to the right for help. She has long wreathed hair and wears a long sleeveless chiton and an embroidered himation. Behind her are flames or wings emerging from her back, indicating that she is about to transform herself into another shape in order to be free of him. The women (Nereids?) on either side of her run away, although the one on the right looks back at her. They both wear long chitons and embroidered himatia.

Stand: Side B: At center Dionysos stands, facing right with a kantharos in his left hand. He is bearded with long wreathed hair and wears a long white chiton and embroidered himation. On either side maenads face him wearing long embroidered chitons and himatia over their heads. The maenad on the right runs to the left, looking back at and holding out her left hand to another, who holds out her hand to the first. She has long wreathed hair, and wears a long chiton and himation.

On the stand there is a double honeysuckle pattern above the design. Below the design is a frieze of pendants.

Shape Description:

The lebes is on a stand with its cover and two handles, each formed of two loops. Since the shape had ritual connections, the old black-figure technique was retained for this shape and for loutrophoroi.

Collection History:

ex Blacas Collection, 1867.

Sources Used:

Walters 1893, 173; Boardman 1974, 151, fig. 293