British Museum

British Museum

'Bilingual' pottery amphora. Designs in two panels, with borders of double honeysuckle above: (a) Black on red ground, with purple accessories and finely-incised lines; (b) Red on black ground, with purple accessories, and network borders down the sides in black on red. On the sides of the handles, ivy-wreaths; below the handles, palmettes with volutes; all black on red. (a) Achilles and Ajax (?) playing with pessi: On the right is Achilles seated, bearded, with hair rolled up under fillet, high-crested helmet short chiton richly diapered, cuirass, parameiridia, and greaves, all ornamented with volutes, and chlamys richly embroidered with stars and other patterns, in left hand two spears, behind him a Boeotian shield decorated with Satyric mask with short curls and protruding tongue. On the left is Ajax, seated, similarly attired and equipped; each stretches out right hand to a table between them, on which six pessi are visible; Achilles holds another between his fingers. (b) Heracles and the Nemean lion: He is nude and bearded, with curly hair and fillet, and kneels on both knees, holding the lion head downwards over his left shoulder, right hand grasping its forepaws, while its hind-claws are inserted in his right shoulder; he is about to fling it on the ground with his left arm. On the left is Athene to right, with long tresses, high-crested helmet with fillet, ornamented with volutes, and chevron-pattern round crest, aegis with scales, and fringe of snakes in front, long diapered chiton, in right hand a spear, left extended to Heracles. On the right is Iolaos to right, looking back, nude and bearded, with curly hair and fillet, sword at side, in right hand Heracles' club.

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  • Title: amphora
  • Date Created: -520/-500
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 54.61cm
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: painted; incised
  • Subject: sport/pastime; classical deity; classical mythology; mammal
  • Registration number: 1839,1109.2
  • Production place: Made in Attica
  • Producer: Attributed to Andokides Painter. Attributed to Lysippides Painter
  • Period/culture: Attic
  • Material: pottery
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Purchased from Campanari. Previous owner/ex-collection Bonaparte, Lucien
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