This splendid tripod served as a stand for a cauldron that has not survived. Three smooth rods rise up from each of the three feet shaped like feline-paws, which gives this type of tripod its name. The central rod of each leg ends at the top in a palmette with two buds turned to the side, while the other rods form an arch with the outer rod of each adjacent leg. In the spandrils of these arches are two figures of cows and a bull shaped almost fully in the round and standing on a bar supported by two snakes. The arches and the central rods support an upper horizontal ring decorated with three horse protomes alternating with a couchant sphinx. Lower down, a much smaller ring gives the tripod extra stability. It is also adorned with three couchant sphinxes and is connected to the legs by coiled snakes. It has long been thought that the Berlin tripod was cast in one piece, which should be possible to determine now with the aid of modern scientific methods. Such splendid tripods are known to have stood in many Greek sanctuaries and temples as votive offerings. The excellent condition of the Berlin cauldron stand suggests, however, that it was originally used to decorate a tomb. Unfortunately, precise details of the site and conditions in which it was found have not been passed down other than the information that it comes from Metaponta. Closely related to this piece is the tripod from tomb XIII at Trebeništa, which is on exhibit in the National Museum of Belgrade. Other examples and numerous fragments of similar tripods have been found from Gaul to Cyprus. However, most are concentrated in southern Italy, the Greek mainland, the islands Chios, Samos, Rhodes and along the coast of Asia Minor (Miletus, Didyma). Sparta is often considered to have been a production centre for these ornate ancient Greek tripods.


  • Title: A magnificent pot stand
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: -560/-550
  • Location: Ruins of Metaponta
  • Physical Dimensions: h754 cm
  • Type: Tripod
  • Medium: Bronze with even layer of patina
  • Inv.-No.: Fr. 768
  • ISIL-No.: DE-MUS-814319
  • External link: Altes Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
  • Copyrights: Text: © Verlag Philipp von Zabern / Antikensammlung, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Norbert Franken || Photo: © b p k - || Photo Agency / Antikensammlung, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Johannes Laurentius
  • Collection: Antikensammlung, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz

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