Baltimore, Hopkins K116

Boeotian Trefoil Oinochoe 750-720 B.C.

K 116. Kemper Simpson Collection. Ht, 22.5 cm; diam foot, 9.6 cm; max diam mouth, 8.2 cm. Intact.

Glaze orange-brown. Solid glazed neck. Principal zone of decoration in panel opposite handle on shoulder, bounded beneath by three horizontal lines. Long-legged bird stands in right profile beneath a zigzag. In front of him is four-spoked wheel with short strokes radiating outward from circumference and with circle enclosing dot between each spoke. Beneath this panel are six vertical lines, alternately wavy and straight. Each side of body occupied by seven concentric circles. Strap handle has wavy line down center and a line down each side continuing across its base above long-legged bird in right profile. Horizontal band encircles foot of vase.

This jug exemplifies the heavily Atticizing character of late geometric Boeotian vasepainting.1 The class to which our vase belongs was produced in the Oinochoe Workshop in Thebes2 and was inspired by Attic oinochoai of the Concentric Circle group, which are dated by Coldstream between 750 and 720 B.C.3 The Attic vases have been found only in Attica and bear motifs associated with contests, such as tripods, double axes, and horses; for this reason it is suggested that these Attic oinochoai served primarily as prizes.4 In contrast, we can conclude that the Boeotian oinochoai were primarily funerary because the wavy bands on the handles surely echo the plastic snakes on Boeotian vessels that were destined for burial.5

The Boeotian oinochoai reflect their Attic prototypes both in the shape and in the technique, whereby brown paint is applied directly to the surface without slip.6 Most of the decorative scheme is also similar: the solid glazed neck, the concentric circles on each side of the body, and the horizontal band around the foot. In the panel scene on the shoulder, however, the Boeotian artist introduces horizontal zigzags and crosshatched triangles, which are often detached on other Boeotian examples of this same class.7 And, in contrast to the striding Attic birds, the Boeotian counterparts are stationary and long-legged.8 On the Attic vases, beneath the panel there is a series of horizontal lines, but on the Boeotian jugs they are replaced by straight or wavy vertical lines, which are possibly derived from Corinthian vasepainting.9 On the basis of the profiles and the painted snakes on the handles, the Boeotian oinochoai are thought to be contemporary with their Attic counterparts and thus also to date to the period 750 to 720 B.C.10

The ultimate origin of the shape and the concentric circles lies in Cypriot Ware, Bichrome IV,11 and possibly in Mycenaean pottery. Perhaps also of Cypriot inspiration are the double axes that appear on the Attic examples.12

1 Coldstream 1968, 196-211.

2 Ruckert 1976, 17, 41-44, 59-60.

3 Coldstream 1968, 74-76, 330-31, LG Ib 750-735 and LG IIa 735-720.

4 Karageorghis 1975, 172.

5 Coldstream 1977, 201.

6 Ruckert 1976, 17, 59.

7 Coldstream 1968, 210.

8 Ruckert 1976, 43.

9 F. Canciani, JdI 80 (1965):68.

10 Ruckert 1976, 17, 41, 43-44, I 750-735 and II 735-720.

11 Karageorghis 1975, 172.

12 Karageorghis 1975, 172-73.

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