Unknown4th - 5th century

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum

A repoussé floral tendril and rows of feathers decorate the elongated body of this Roman silver amphora-rhyton. The body of the vessel, hammered out of a single sheet of silver, demonstrates the skill of Roman silversmiths. The unknown silversmith also added the repoussé decoration, the gilding, and the arching handles, which were solid-cast separately and soldered on the vessel. Their decoration includes leafy forms, goose heads, and wreathed satyr heads. The proportions of the vessel and details such as the knobbed handles and the ring around the neck show that it was made in the period A.D. 300 to 500.

An amphora-rhyton is rare, and few have survived from antiquity. Although the vessel takes the shape of an elongated amphora, a form used to store liquids, the narrow bottom of this vessel is actually a spout, making the vessel a rhyton. The term rhyton comes from the Greek verb meaning "to run through." Rhyta were used to aerate wine as it was poured into a drinking vessel.

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  • Title: Amphora-rhyton
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date: 4th - 5th century
  • Location Created: Roman Empire
  • Physical Dimensions: 37.9 x 27.5 cm (14 15/16 x 10 13/16 in.)
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Gilded silver
  • Source Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Villa Collection, Malibu, California
  • Object Type: Amphora
  • Object Status: Permanent Collection
  • Number: 92.AM.12
  • Display Location: Currently on view at: Getty Villa, Gallery 105, Luxury Vessels
  • Department: Antiquities
  • Culture: Roman
  • Classification: Vessels


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