ANONYMOUS (Attica) #05 Black-Figure Skyphos: Satyrs ca. 450 BC [A] - x +
CERAb450ak05

CN: CERAb450ak05

MT: glazed and fired clay (17x28x22)

TX: inscribed with fountain pen <5.>

DN: Dr. Alexander D. Kalovidouris - 1995

CM: The National Archaeological Committee describes the present work as follows: "5. Great black-figure skyphos consisting of many sherds. Under the rim, in between two narrow black stripes, runs a double line of dots. Below this zone and amidst the handles the following are represented: a) In between two satyrs, each brandishing a crater, another ithyphallic satyr charges in an attempt to seduce a female figure holding a string instrument (kithara), whose strings are executed by incision. Branches of ivy fill the gaps amidst the figures. b) The scene is repeated on the reverse excepting the female figure who - in this instance - does not hold an instrument, but rather raises her hands upwards. Under the handles is represented a goat. All details are executed by incision. Below the figurative zone are six thin horizontal stripes, under which runs a tongue-shaped pattern." The description is confirmed by Professor of Classical Archaeology Lila Marangou.

This is a typical black-figure skyphos, possibly the product of an Attic workshop dating from the High Classical period (450-420 BC). By this time the red-figure technique has already been invented. Though red-figure is the finest pottery produced, black-figure ware are still largely in demand. All decorations were made of 'glaze' applied onto the pot before firing. According to the custom of the time the female figures were painted light and the male dark. Originally the maenads of the present skyphos were painted white to suggest the fairness of their skin, while the satyrs had red beard and fillets on the hair. These colors vanished over time because they were applied on the glaze and did not blend permanently with it. § This skyphos is of rather large size and has been reconstructed out of many sherds. Under the rim, in between two thin stripes, runs a line of paired dots. Below this zone on either side of the vase are representations on the theme of seduction under the influence of intoxication, as suggested by the presence of kraters associated with wine-drinking. In between two satyrs, each brandishing a krater, opens the scene of an ithyphallic satyr attempting to seduce a maenad holding a barbitos (type of lyre). On the reverse of the vase, the scene is repeated with the exception of the maenad who - in this instance - raises her hands with krotala (type of rattles) in each hand. Branches of ivy decorate the background in an effort to fill the empty space (horror vacui). Under both handles is represented a goat. Below the figurative zone are six thin stripes, under which runs a band of a tongue-shaped pattern. § All details are executed by incision on the glaze against the ground. It is possible to discern a certain mannerism in the representation of details on this skyphos. The painting is swift, free and masterfully loose. The satyrs, maenads, goats, and the ivy relate to the cult of Dionysus, intoxication, and courting. The skyphos ware is likely to have been used for the consumption of wine in symposia and rituals. Therefore the representations on it would convey the spirit of Dionysian ceremonies.

[Megakles Rogakos 05/2005]

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