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Bloomington 74.10.2

Attic Trefoil Oinochoe Class of London B 632 ca. 520-490 B.C.

Lent by the Indiana University Art Museum (74.10.2).

The Vase: h. 24.1 cm; h. (to handle top) 24.5 cm; w. 14.2 cm; d. of foot 8.65 cm; liquid contents ca. 1.75 liters. Dense clay with fine, sandy structure, very few enclosures, medium-hard. 6.5 YR 7.5/5 pink light-brown to reddish-yellow (Munsell).

The vessel has been reconstituted with some minor restorations in plaster. The oinochoe stands on a broad disk foot with a sharply precisioned, finely curved torus at the outside. The interior of the foot moves up in a swift, even curve to the bottom. Between the foot and the body, topping the low stem, projects a fine, sharp ridge. The body rises in a short, convex flare; thereabove the wall follows in a broad, inverted egg-shape. The wide shoulder runs in an even rise, the neck is set off above by a sharp, somewhat undercut step. It is broad, and the trefoil is formed by a very deep pinch, somewhat towards the front. The top of the lip is flattened and gently carinated, projecting outwards. The solid, round handle rises vertically from the shoulder and turns towards the lip in a rather flat curve. To either side of the handle attachments, the front part of a snake winds on top of the lip, molded in reserved clay. The body design has been rendered in short, careful lines, the modeling of the head includes bumps for the ears. All body decoration has been painted over added white, the lower portion above the foot shows fifty slender rays, rising from a narrow black line a short distance above the purple line which covers the ridge between body and foot.

Decoration: The shoulder field is separated into three parts: below, the meander; in the middle (and main) zone, the diamond net-pattern; above, a frieze of tongues. All ornaments are precisely and carefully drawn. The lower meander border features two interlocking battlement meanders which in their crossings form a swastika pattern; small squares are inserted into the interstices. Diamond-shaped cores fill the individual fields of the net-pattern. The tongue-pattern consists of a thin, filigree-like outer border and a solid, broad and elongated U-shaped design within. Added red: the top of the lip is covered with red and a double fillet encircles the body just below the handle attachment.

The shape of the vessel with its solid, rotund members and the careful modelling of individual parts bespeak its Late Archaic date. The modelling of the snakes, the form of the handle, the shape of the mouth, neck and shoulder correspond very closely to Villa Giulia 535: P. Mingazzini, Vasi della Collezione Castellani (Rome 1930) p. 283, pl. 80.2; as well as to the name vase in London, London B 632. For another example of plastic snakes around a trefoil, see Hoppin 1924, 145. For elaborately painted plastic snakes at the base of the handles of a black-figure neck-amphora, see Louvre F 99 (ABV, 228). Plastic animal heads occasionally take the place of rotelles on the handles of oinochoai and other vases. For the Class of London B 632, ABV, 425.1


Wolf Rudolph, Indiana University

1 "The Hoppin oinochoe with snakes is ABV, p. 186. For other snakes see also the Class of London B 620 (ABV, p. 434)." (Letter of Dietrich von Bothmer to Warren Moon, 15 Feb. 1980).

"The snake-heads and the white-ground technique indicate a double connection with Nikosthenes, whose workshop is responsible for the Class of London B 620 (ABV, 425, 434, 697; Para., 187) and popularized white-ground in Attic vase-painting (Mertens, Attic White-ground, 31, 66; Kurtz, AWL, 12). Since the shape and measurements of London B 632 and Bloomington 74.10.2 are practically identical, they must be by the same potter. In addition, the painted articulation of the snake-heads is so alieke that it suggests that one artist is responsible for both vases; the very similar appearance of the tongue patterns and the rays further supports this..." (Letter of Dr. Andrew Clark to Warren Moon, May 21, 1982)

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