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Amherst 1950.59


Lent by the Museum of Art, Amherst College (1950.59)

Height: 12 1/2 in. (31.75 cm.)

Broken and repaired at base and body.

Side A: symposion. A man and woman, perhaps Dionysos and Ariadne, recline on a couch (kline). They wear ivy wreaths in their hair and richly decorated chitons pulled down to the waist. At the left is a flute player in himation with an ivy wreath in his hair. On either side are two nude, bearded men dancing. The couch has rectangular legs with cut out designs in the form of double palmettes. The upper leg is higher than the lower and crowned with volutes. On the couch are a mattress and cushions, richly embroidered. In front of the couch is a low, three-legged eating table with a drinking cup and strips of meat on it.

Side B: three couples, all in chitons and embroidered himatia. Two bearded men embrace women while the third couple looks on.

Under the handles, palmettes and volutes; below the scene, a leftward meander, then ivy, then rays, each separated by double lines; above the scene, alternating red and black framed tongues; on the neck, lotus-palmette chain.

Red: edges of the drapery and cushions, fillets and wreaths, the men's beards, hearts of palmettes.

White: female flesh, rosettes on drapery, dots on mattresses, volutes, and palmettes of couch.

Attributed to the Medea Group [H. R. W. Smith] ca. 530 - 500 B. C.

The Medea Group was named by H. R. W. Smith after a similar amphora in the British Museum (London B 221; ABV, 321, no. 4) showing Medea and the ram. Seven small neck amphorae have thus far been ascribed to the group (H.R.W. Smith 1945, 465-479). The association of revelers, or komasts, with a reclining couple supports the identification of the couple as Dionysos and Ariadne with their cohorts.

Depicted here is a typical example of the Greek couch which was used both for eating and sleeping. The frame was generally made of wood with interlacings of leather or vegetable fiber and decorated with inlay of tortoise shell, silver, or ivory, as seems likely here (see Richter 1966, 52 ff).


Georges Petit, Catalogue des objets d'art antique... collection de feu le Dr. Prof. S. Pozzi (Paris June 25-27, 1919) pl. 15, no. 456; ABV, 321; C. H. Morgan, "The Classical Collection at Amherst College," Archaeology 20 (1967) 2-8, fig. p. 7; Para., 141, no. 1.

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