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Title: Shapes of Greek Vases
Author: Art, The Metropolitan Museum of
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                        THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM
                                 OF ART



                                 SHAPES
                                   OF
                              GREEK VASES


[Illustration]


                                NEW YORK
                                  1922



                          COPYRIGHT, 1922, BY
                     THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART



                         SHAPES OF GREEK VASES


The appreciation of beautiful form, with the ability to create it, which
was characteristic of the Greek people, is nowhere better illustrated
than in the shapes of their pottery. These vases—the jars, dishes, and
cups made for household and religious use—were designed with intelligent
skill to serve their purpose in the most effective fashion, and are
valued for their fine shapes no less than for their interesting and
beautiful decoration.

The following reproductions of the most important shapes in use among
Athenian potters during the sixth and fifth centuries B. C. will show
with what care the relation of the height to the width and the
proportion of the parts to the whole were designed with a view to
harmonious effect, and how skilfully the forms of the neck, the mouth,
and the foot, and the position of the handles were planned for practical
use.

The vases have been selected where possible from the collection in this
Museum; but when a certain shape was not represented here or
conspicuously better examples were available elsewhere, vases in other
collections have been included. Unless otherwise stated the vases here
illustrated are in this Museum.


AMPHORA. Two-handled jar for holding provisions.

[Illustration:

  Black-figured type with heavy lip and cylindrical handles. The
    decoration is usually painted in panels, back and front, the rest of
    the body being black.
]

[Illustration:

  Panathenaic amphora given as a prize in the games at Athens.
]

[Illustration:

  Black-figured type with curving lip and ribbed handles. The decoration
    extends over the surface of the vase.
]

[Illustration:

  Black-figured amphora of the same general type as the preceding, but
    broader and heavier.
]

[Illustration:

  Amphora with short neck and long body. The form of the handles is
    copied from metal technique.
]

[Illustration:

  Amphora with high, finely curving handles and black figures on a white
    body.

  In the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
]

[Illustration:

  Black-figured amphora; slender neck and egg-shaped body. A rather
    unusual form. Owned by Albert Gallatin.
]

[Illustration:

  Nolan amphora with elongated neck and egg-shaped body. Form
    characteristic of the red-figured technique of the early fifth
    century.
]

[Illustration:

  Red-figured amphora with twisted handles, of the first half of the
    fifth century. There is a decided advance toward slenderness and
    grace.
]

[Illustration:

  Amphora with narrow neck and pointed body.
]

[Illustration:

  Red-figured amphora with twisted handles, of the second half of the
    fifth century.
]

[Illustration:

  Marriage-lebes with stand, used to hold water for the nuptial bath.
]


STAMNOS. A development of the amphora.

[Illustration:

  Stamnos. Type characteristic of the early fifth century, with rounded
    body and short neck.
]

[Illustration:

  Stamnos. Type prevalent in middle and later fifth century, with more
    elongated body, smaller foot, and higher neck.
]


LOUTROPHOROS. Water-jar for the bride’s ceremonial bath.

[Illustration:

  Earlier type with heavy mouth and foot, and handles joined midway to
    the neck.

  In the Louvre, Paris.
]

[Illustration:

  Later type of slenderer proportions, finely curved mouth, foot, and
    handles.

  In the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
]


KRATER. Vessel for mixing water and wine. It was from the krater that
the wine was ladled into the cups.

[Illustration:

  Krater with volute handles decorated in the black-figured technique.

  In the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
]

[Illustration:

  Column krater, so called from the columnar shape of the handles.
]

[Illustration:

  Krater with volute handles in the red-figured technique.
]

[Illustration:

  Bell krater, shaped like an inverted bell. This type and the following
    are characteristic of the red-figured style. Both have handles
    adapted for carrying the vessel when full.
]

[Illustration:

  Kalyx krater.
]

[Illustration:

  Psykter, vessel for cooling wine. It was placed in another receptacle
    filled with snow or cold water.

  In the British Museum.
]

[Illustration:

  Deinos or lebes, vessel for wine or other liquids, set on a stand. The
    whole makes a harmonious composition. In the Museum of Fine Arts,
    Boston.
]


HYDRIA. Water-jar having three handles. The handle at the back was used
for pouring or for carrying the vessel; the handles at the sides, for
lifting.

[Illustration:

  Hydria of the black-figured type having the handle at the back much
    larger than those at the sides, and the neck at a sharp angle with
    the body.
]

[Illustration:

  Hydria with rounded body. The handles and mouldings suggest imitation
    of metal technique.
]

[Illustration:

  Hydria with more strongly curving shoulder and conical foot.
]

[Illustration:

  Black-figured hydria with continuous curve for neck and body, broad
    foot, and handles placed rather low.
]

[Illustration:

  Black-figured hydria with neck distinctly marked and shoulder and body
    forming a continuous curve.

  In the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
]

[Illustration:

  Hydria of red-figured type showing the acme of development of this
    shape.
]

[Illustration:

  Hydria of the second half of the fifth century, slightly slenderer
    than the preceding, with finely curving foot.
]

[Illustration:

  Hydria of the late red-figured type with egg-shaped body, broad lip,
    and side handles curving upward. Note the deterioration in the curve
    of the foot.
]


OINOCHOË. Wine-jug.

[Illustration:

  Oinochoë with round mouth and high handle, having the neck distinct
    from the body.
]

[Illustration:

  Oinochoë with trefoil lip, short handle, and continuous curve for neck
    and body.
]

[Illustration:

  Oinochoë with round mouth and high handle. The neck and body form a
    continuous curve.
]

[Illustration:

  “Olpe,” oinochoë with round mouth and continuous curve for neck and
    body.
]

[Illustration:

  Oinochoë with high handle, trefoil lip, and egg-shaped body, a
    particularly graceful form.

  In a private collection, New York.
]

[Illustration:

  “Olpe,” oinochoë with round mouth and low foot.
]

[Illustration:

  Oinochoë with central lobe of trefoil mouth accentuated, and no foot.
]

[Illustration:

  Oinochoë of the second half of the fifth century; squat body,
    delicately curved trefoil lip.
]

[Illustration:

  Oinochoë with sharp division between shoulder and body.
]

[Illustration:

  Oinochoë with finely shaped mouth and broad body.
]

[Illustration:

  Oinochoë with beaked spout and disk at the side, a variation of the
    usual trefoil mouth.
]


DRINKING CUPS—KYLIX. The kylix with two handles and high foot was the
favorite cup shape of the Athenian potters. The difficulty of decorating
the strongly curving surface of the body invited the best efforts of
contemporary vase painters.

[Illustration:

  Kylix of “Ionic” form with short foot of rectangular profile connected
    with the body by a moulding.
]

[Illustration:

  Black-figured kylix with low foot. The deep bowl has no separate lip.
]

[Illustration:

  Black-figured kylix with deep bowl, offset lip, and low foot.
]

[Illustration:

  Black-figured kylix with offset lip and high foot.
]

[Illustration:

  Black-figured kylix with graceful bowl and heavy foot.
]

[Illustration:

  Kylix of form intermediate between the black-figured and red-figured
    types.
]

[Illustration:

  Kylix of red-figured type with flat bowl, slender high foot, and
    horizontal handles curving upward at the ends. The proportion of the
    bowl, foot, and handle to one another is more harmonious than in the
    preceding example.
]

[Illustration:

  Kylix in use during the best period, showing the highest development
    of this shape. The beauty of the unbroken curve between the edge of
    the lip and the bottom of the foot is the result of a century of
    continued study.
]

[Illustration:

  Kylix with “wishbone” handles, a very graceful, slender form in use in
    the later fifth century.

  In the British Museum.
]

[Illustration:

  Red-figured kylix with deep bowl, offset lip, and flat foot. A shape
    intermediate between the kylix and the skyphos.
]

[Illustration:

  Lekane, covered dish of uncertain use. It often appears in vase
    paintings of toilet scenes.
]


DRINKING CUPS—KANTHAROS.

[Illustration:

  Kantharos of black-figured type with offset lip and high curving
    handles.
]

[Illustration:

  Kantharos with high foot, tall handles, and both bowl and lip forming
    a continuous curve. Perhaps one of the most beautiful shapes
    designed by the Athenian potters.

  In the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
]


DRINKING CUPS—SKYPHOS.

[Illustration:

  “Skyphos,” a deep drinking cup with a flat foot and strongly curving
    handle.
]

[Illustration:

  “Skyphos” or “Kotyle,” a deep drinking cup with flat foot and small
    horizontal handles.
]


DRINKING CUPS—OTHER FORMS.

[Illustration:

  Kyathos, ladle used for dipping wine from the krater into the drinking
    cups.
]

[Illustration:

  Small cup with offset lip, two handles, and no foot.

  In the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
]

[Illustration:

  Small cup without handles.
]

[Illustration:

  One-handled cup with offset lip and no foot.
]

[Illustration:

  Phiale, shallow bowl with a central boss. This shape was used
    especially for libations.

  In the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
]

[Illustration:

  Mastos, so called because the shape resembles a woman’s breast.

  In the British Museum.
]

[Illustration:

  Cup with two handles, one horizontal and the other vertical.
]

[Illustration:

  Pinax, a flat plate. Note how well the decoration is adapted to the
    space.

  In the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
]


MOULDED VASES. The bodies of these vases were made in moulds in the form
of human and animal heads while the mouths were shaped on the wheel.
Such moulds, however, were not used for producing hundreds of identical
vases, as nowadays.

[Illustration:

  Aryballos in the shape of a negro’s head.

  In the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
]

[Illustration:

  Cup in the form of two female heads, back to back.
]

[Illustration:

  Cup in the form of a Seilenos head.

  Owned by Albert Gallatin, New York.
]

[Illustration:

  Cup without handles in the form of a woman’s head.
]

[Illustration:

  Cup in the form of a cow’s head.
]

[Illustration:

  Cup in the form of a horse’s head.
]

[Illustration:

  Cup in the form of a ram’s head.

  In the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
]

[Illustration:

  Cup in the form of a mule’s head.

  In the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
]


LEKYTHOS. Oil-jug. The narrow neck and deep mouth were designed to make
the liquid flow out slowly.

[Illustration:

  Early black-figured example with egg-shaped body and no distinct
    shoulder.
]

[Illustration:

  Later black-figured type with high neck and shoulder distinct from the
    body.
]

[Illustration:

  Black-figured lekythos with broad shoulder distinct from the body.
]

[Illustration:

  Early red-figured type of squat shape with large flat foot.
]

[Illustration:

  Lekythos of the finest type with slender body and high neck and
    handle.
]

[Illustration:

  Lekythos of the later fifth century, of exaggerated slenderness.
]

[Illustration:

  Squat lekythos with broad flat foot, a shape popular among the later
    Athenian potters.
]


TOILET JARS.

[Illustration:

  Alabastron, for holding oil or perfumes.
]

[Illustration:

  Aryballos, oil-jug. Vases of this shape are often seen suspended from
    the wrists of athletes.
]

[Illustration:

  Vase (the ancient plemochoë?), probably used for holding perfumes, a
    shape intermediate between the pyxis and the lekane. Note the
    delicately executed knob serving as handle to the lid. In the Museum
    of Fine Arts, Boston.
]


TOILET JARS—PYXIS. Small terracotta box for holding toilet articles. It
regularly has a cover provided with a knob or a bronze ring for handle.

[Illustration:

  Black-figured pyxis with a loop handle on the cover.
]

[Illustration:

  White pyxis of conspicuously beautiful design and execution, decorated
    with figures in color on a white ground. In the foot are three
    notches for easier handling.
]

[Illustration:

  White pyxis of design similar to the preceding, but with elongated
    instead of arched knob. It also is an exceptionally fine product of
    the potter’s art.

  In the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
]

[Illustration:

  Red-figured pyxis with high foot and knob-shaped handle.
]

[Illustration:

  Red-figured pyxis with cylindrical body and low, broad foot.
]

[Illustration:

  Red-figured pyxis of the late fifth century with low, broad body and a
    bronze ring on the cover.
]

[Illustration:

  Red-figured pyxis of cylindrical shape and no handle on the lid.
]

[Illustration:

  Red-figured pyxis of late date with the knob in the form of a
    knucklebone.
]

[Illustration:

  Small pyxis of attractive design delicately worked.
]

[Illustration:

  Small cylindrical pyxis without handle.
]


ILLUSTRATIONS FROM ATTIC VASES. The theory has often been advanced that
the painted black-figured and red-figured vases were made for decoration
and for votive and funeral purposes but not for actual use. The
following illustrations from Attic vases show some of the best-known
types in use in the daily life of the Greeks, and thus furnish us with
contemporary evidence that the vases were made to serve the purposes for
which they are so well adapted.

[Illustration:

  Scene on a red-figured stamnos. Three women are filling cups, a
    kantharos, and a phiale, from a stamnos placed on a table. The
    stamnos contains the mixture of wine and water which formed the
    regular drink of the Greeks.
]

[Illustration:

  Scene on an Ionic amphora in the collection of the Marquis of
    Northampton. The god Dionysos and a company of satyrs are drinking
    and making merry. The wine is in a lebes on a tripod at the right. A
    satyr is dipping it out with an oinochoë without taking the trouble
    to use a ladle. Dionysos himself holds up his large kantharos, and
    the satyr at the left grasps a wine-skin and a drinking-horn.
]

[Illustration:

  Scene on a red-figured kylix in the Antiquarium, Munich. Herakles,
    wearied with his labors, is seated on a rock, while Athena, his
    patroness, pours wine for him from an oinochoë into a kantharos. The
    trefoil-shaped mouth of the oinochoë can be plainly seen.
]

[Illustration:

  Detail from a scene on the Ficoroni Cista in the Museo Kircheriano in
    Rome. A young man is drinking from a kylix which he holds by one
    handle.
]

[Illustration:

  Scene on a hydria in the Torlonia Collection in Rome. Two girls are
    drawing water at a public fountain into large hydriai or water-jars.
    The girl at the left is lifting her jar upon her head. The other is
    putting a little cushion for protection on her head, meanwhile
    holding her dress away from the water.
]

[Illustration:

  Scene on a red-figured krater in the Antiquarium, Berlin. Two young
    men are preparing for exercise in a gymnasium. One of them is
    pouring oil into his hand from an aryballos attached to his wrist by
    a cord, in order to rub the liquid over his body.
]

[Illustration:

  Scene on a red-figured pyxis in the British Museum. A bride is being
    dressed for her wedding; a little maid is fastening her shoes while
    another is bringing her jewelry in a box. At the door stand two
    marriage vases filled with twigs, and a loutrophoros nearby also
    contains branches or flowers. On a little chest stands a pyxis or
    perfume vase. A mirror hangs on the wall.
]

[Illustration:

  Scene from a polychrome lekythos in the National Museum, Athens. Such
    lekythoi were made especially for offerings to the dead. This
    picture shows a woman bringing wreaths in a basket to place on a
    gravestone on the steps of which are lekythoi and oinochoai. Behind
    the monument appears the mound over the grave.
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                          TRANSCRIBER’S NOTES


 1. Silently corrected typographical errors and variations in spelling.
 2. Retained anachronistic, non-standard, and uncertain spellings as
      printed.
 3. Enclosed italics font in _underscores_.





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