Side A: Triptolemos, lower half

Side B: scene at center

Side B: burning torch

Side B: Demeter, lower half

Side A: Triptolemos

Side A: oblique from right

Collection: University Museums, University of Mississippi
Summary: Side A: Triptolemos. Side B: Demeter.
Ware: Attic Red Figure
Painter: Attributed to the Berlin Painter
Context: From Gela
Date: ca. 470 BC

H 0. 346 m.; D 0.19 m.

Primary Citation: ARV2, 203 no. 97.
Shape: Neck amphora
Region: Sicily
Period: Late Archaic

Date Description:

Beazley describes as "very late".


Some cracks have been repainted.

Decoration Description:

The vessel is a small neck-amphora with ridged handles. It has a torus foot, with a reserved band at the bottom. There is a slight base fillet, and a fillet at the juncture of the neck and the body. There is a meander pattern on each side just below the design.

Side A: Triptolemos is shown seated to the right in his winged car. His long hair falls in zigzag curls down his back. He wears a chiton and himation, and holds a lotus-topped scepter upright in his left hand. The seat of the car is supported by a single shaft rising from the axle. Three sideposts support the handrail, and on each side a great wing extends back and upwards from the axle.

Side B: Demeter stands in profile to the left, holding a blazing torch in each hand. She wears an Ionic chiton and himation, and in her hair she wears a polos.

Black relief lines are used for the chief anatomical markings and for the folds of the drapery. The fringe of hair over the foreheads and the long curls are in thin black over a reddish wash. The same dilute reddish-orange is used for the fine folds of the chitons, for the spots on the wings, the decorative lines on the torches, and some anatomical details. The flames of the torches were a dark red, which has almost completely worn off.

These scenes are related to the festival of the Eleusinian Mysteries, which celebrated Triptolemos' introduction of grain to humanity. (Bérard, 114-120).

Collection History:

Gift of Helen Tudor Robinson, 1960. Formerly in D.M. Robinson collection, Harvard Inv. 184. Purchased in Paris.

Sources Used:

C. Bérard, "Festivals and Mysteries," A City of Images (Princeton, 1989) 109-120; CVA, Robinson Collection 2, USA 6, 23-24, pl. 17; Kurtz 1983, 48, 88; L. Turnbull "The Museum of Classical Archaeology, University of Mississippi" Archaeological News 2 (1973) 33, fig. 1

Other Bibliography:

Beazley 1929, 20, fn 2; Beazley 1930, 18, 73; Beazley 1925, 81, no. 60; FR, vol. III, 260