On one side of the neck of this krater, Adonis, a god of vegetation, reclines on a couch between Aphrodite, the goddess of love, and Persephone, the queen of the underworld, and their female attendants. According to myth, Aphrodite fell in love with the beautiful mortal youth Adonis. Shortly after, he was killed in a hunting accident. Aphrodite was so distraught that Zeus, the king of the gods, made Adonis immortal, allowing him to leave Hades, the underworld of the dead, for part of the year to be with Aphrodite. He always, however, had to return to Hades, where he was Persephone's lover. This cycle of death and rebirth was linked with the regeneration of vegetation and the crop seasons in ancient Greece. Originating in the Near East, the cult of Adonis was introduced to Athens in about 440 B.C.; its devotees were exclusively female.
The other side of the krater's neck shows a scene from a symposium, or drinking party, in which three male couples recline on couches. On the sides of the stand, a scene of Dionysos reclining with attendants mirrors the scene with Adonis above. A hunt scene with real and mythological animals covers the top of the stand.
The form of this monumental vase, a volute-krater resting on a separately made stand, is exceptional. The combination of ribbing on the body of the vase and red-figure decoration is quite rare in Athenian pottery. Indeed, many aspects of this vase are more typical of the Greek colonies in South Italy than in Athens, perhaps indicating that this vase was meant to look South Italian or even made for export to that area.