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A vase, rather bulbous at the top, and with a high cylindrical stem.

Shape: Sometimes there are loops or lugs placed on the shoulder of the vessel for the purpose of suspension.

History: The psykter's life as a pottery shape is from the 520's to about 460. Not many examples have been preserved. Its shape was well suited for the purpose of cooling wine. The psykter was placed in a krater which had been filled with cooled water; the cooling liquid would surround the vessel, which might help explain its unusual shape. A psykter placed in a krater was found in an Etruscan tomb, and a scene from an oinochoe in the National Museum, Athens (Athens no. 1045) shows a boy ladling wine from a psykter placed inside of a krater. One of the earliest known psykter-coolers carries the name of the potter Nikosthenes, who was known for his inventiveness of shapes.

Another rare, slightly earlier form assumes the shape of an amphora, though with double walls. The exterior wall has a spout placed high up on the shoulder. The interior compartment would be filled with the wine while the exterior compartment would be filled with cool water through the spout on the shoulder, to cool the wine. This shape is confined to the sixth century.

  • Strattis, Frag. 57 states that "no one would be willing to drink his wine warm, but on the contrary, he wants it cooled in the well and mixed with snow."
  • The psykters as referred to in inscription and in literature were metal, and described as such.
  • Nikostratos in Athenaios VI. 230d.
  • Phylarchos in Athenaios IV 142 d
  • Kallixernos in Athenaios 199d-200a

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