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Side A: naked women at washbasin

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Side A: head of woman in center

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Overview: Side A

Polygnotan stamnos: Drawing of side A, showing three women bathing themsel...

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Side A: woman on right, upper half

Drawing of Side A (large)

Collection: Munich, Antikensammlungen
Summary: Side A: Three nude women bathing themselves at a basinSide B: three women
Ware: Attic Red Figure
Painter: Attributed to the School of Polygnotos
Attributed By: J.D. Beazley
Date: ca. 440 BC

H. 42 cm., D. of outer rim 25 cm.

Primary Citation: ARV2, 1052.18
Shape: Stamnos
Beazley Number: 213649
Period: High Archaic

Decoration Description:

The profiled foot is glazed black on its upper part, while its lower wall is clay-colored. It is set off from the body of the vessel by an incised line that circles it. The handles are round and point upward. At the handle attachments are half-circle bands of eggs. Above the handles are large palmette ornaments, and on the shoulder at the body-neck join is a band of tongues. On the rim is a bordered band of eggs. Both scenes are bordered below by a crossed square and key meander.

On side A, three naked women are standing at a large louter or washbasin, which itself stands on a low foot whose stem attaches to the round basin with a volute-shaped connecting piece. Along the top of the upper basin rim, the words *K*A*L*O*S *P*O*L*E*M*A*N*E (Polemane is beautiful) are painted in dilute glaze. The woman on the left, with long loose hair held by a wide headband with three feathers or leaves stuck in it, stands in profile to the right. She holds in both hands her clothing in a bundle. In front of her are her shoes. The woman in the center stands behind the washbasin in full frontal pose. Her hair is also long and loose, and she dries it or applies oil to it with a mop-like implement on a staff held in her left hand. In her right hand she holds a leather strap attached to an alabastron which hangs below. The woman on the right stands in profile to the left. Her hair is held up by a wide headband with three feathers or leaves in it. She wears an earring, as well as a thread amulet around her left thigh. She dips both hands into the washbasin.

On side B, two women bring a mirror and a salt vessel to their mistress. The mistress, standing upright, is wearing a long chiton, mantle, headband, and earring. The woman carrying the mirror wears a longsleeved chiton, mantle, and cap, while the third woman has a mantle and earring. The pupil of the mistress's eye is not depicted, as are the pupils of the other two. The surface of this figure is covered with dark flecks. On both sides, relief outlines are used.

The scene on side B is generally understood to be sepulchral in nature, with the lonely stance and empty gaze of the mistress representing one who has died, and the two women representing gift bearers.


On side A, the washbasin bears the inscription *K*A*L*O*S *P*O*L*E*M*A*N*E (Polemane is beautiful).


There is a graffito on the underside of the foot.

Sources Used:

CVA, Deutschland 20, M√ľnchen 5, p. 37.

Other Bibliography:

See CVA entry for extensive bibliography.