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Side A: maenad and satyr on far right

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Three-dimensional approximation of the vase

Collection: London, British Museum
Summary: Side A: Dionysiac scene. Side B: Thiasos.
Ware: South Italian Red Figure
Painter: Attributed to Lucanian Red Figure
Date: ca. 375 BC - ca. 350 BC

H. 0.675 m.

Primary Citation: Trendall 1967, 113, no. 582. Supp. III 71, no. BB47
Shape: Nestoris
Period: Late Classical

Decoration Description:

Side A: Dionysiac scene. On the left, a maenad in a long, black bordered chiton stands on a higher level (really on top of one of the palmette decorations). In front of her, beginning at ground level, a grapevine grows, twisting around a white vertical pole, and then growing to the right, to cover the head of Dionysos. A young, nude, beardless satyr with a cloak draped around his shoulders reclines against the vine, and wraps his right arm around it. In his left hand, he holds a white kantharos. A small olive tree grows in the field just above the cup, and also one at the groundline, directly below. On the grapevine hangs a white painted dramatic mask of an elderly woman's head, with furrowed cheeks and wearing a veil. In the center of the composition, Dionysos sits on a cloak, in a three-quarter view. He is beardless, nude, with long curly hair and a band wrapped round his head. He and the satyrs wear short boots. Behind and to the right of him stands a little satyr, who leans casually on the god's shoulder. Below them on the groundline a deer reclines. To the right, a maenad in a short embroidered chiton and cap, pelt, belt, and lace-up boots stands frontally. She turns her head to look at Dionysos. Under her, there is one more olive tree on the groundline, to the right of the deer. To the far right stands a nude satyr with a Pan-pipe. He is bearded and has white hair. On Side A, the neck of the vase is decorated at the highest level with an elaborate maeander, below that an olive wreath, below that a black band, and below that a tongue or ray pattern. On the shoulder is a palmette band, and lower down a spiral pattern. Webster (81) notes that a dramatic mask of an elderly woman's head is unusual, and cites two other examples where it appears: Naples 2858 and London 1958.2-14.1.

Side B: Thiasos. On the left stands a maenad, in a similar position to the left hand maenad on Side A. She wears an elaborate embroidered gown and cloak, and a wreath in her hair. She holds a shield in her left hand. Below and to the right of her sits a young, nude, and beardless satyr. He balances an amphora on his left shoulder and holds a thyrsos in his right hand. Above and to the right of him, in the center of the composition, a youth stands, apparently balancing himself on the seated satyr's leg with his right foot. The youth is nude, although he has a cloak draped over his left arm. He also carries a large bell krater with that hand. Over his head, maybe hanging on a wall, is another cloak or piece of cloth. Lower down and to the right is a maenad. She wears a wreath in her hair, and her gown is unfastened at the right shoulder, exposing her breast. She holds a situla and runs to the right, looking back. On the right and higher up sits a youth in three-quarter view to the right; he also looks back and raises his left arm toward the center youth. He has a cloak draped about him, wears a wreath in his hair, and holds a lyre. The neck of the vase on this side is decorated at the top with an olive wreath, below that a spiral pattern, next an ivy pattern. On the shoulder is a tongue pattern, then egg and dart. The handles on both sides are decorated with pinwheel-striped rotelles, and an ivy pattern. Under the handles are palmettes, and the border below the figural panel is a maeander and crosses.

Sources Used:

Trendall 1989, pl. 86; T.B.L. Webster Monuments Illustrating Tragedy and Satyr-Play (London, 1962): 81, no. LVI, pl. 5c; A. Trendall Phylax Vases (London, 1967): 96.

Other Bibliography:

G. Schneider-Herrmann Red-figured Lucanian and Apulian Nestorides and their Ancestors (Amsterdam, 1980): fig. 50, 50a; J. Charbonneaux Grèce Classique (Paris, 1969): fig. 352