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A vase with a short globular body and continuous curve from mouth to foot, a high neck with a slightly flaring lip and trefoil mouth, a vertical looped handle which rises above the lip, and a low foot.

Shape: The oinochoe is one of the most common Greek shapes as well as having a wide variety of types. The type illustrated here is Beazley's shape 3, one of the ten shapes he identifies. Among the different types, many variations occur: the mouth can be round or trefoil, the body can be globular or slender, the neck and shoulder can be offset from the body or there can be a continuous curve from mouth to foot, the handle can be high or low. The small vase known as a 'mug,' with one handle and no foot, is identified by Beazley as a variant of the oinochoe. [ARV (2), p. l]

History: Through literary sources and artistic representations, it is known that the oinochoe was used for ladling and pouring wine, as well as serving as a grave offering. G.M.A. Richter and M. Milne 1935 19, notes that the shape seen here is also known as a 'chous' and was used for drinking wine in competition at the Attic festival of the Choes, as well as small versions of the vase serving as gifts for the children attending the festival.

Term: The term is Greek and is derived from the words for wine (oinos) and to pour (cheo).

    Eur. Tr. 820 ff., Ganymede fills the kylikes of Zeus with golden oinochoai.
  • Hesychios defines oinochoe as a vessel for pouring.
  • Etymologicum Gudianum defines the oinochoe as a ladle.
  • Phrynichos, Praeparatio sophistica - the oinochoe is a vase resembling a little pitcher and from which the wine was poured into the cups.

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