A bronze hydria (water jug) in pristine condition, decorated with a Siren on the vertical handle. The clay hydria was the standard vessel for carrying water in Antiquity. However, the examples in bronze were used mainly as luxurious symposium vessels as well as cinerary urns, votive offerings in sanctuaries or prizes at games (as known from vase-paintings depicting Nikai bearing hydrias). From their use in sanctuaries derived another public use, that of the ballot box ("kalpis"). Extant bronze hydrias come mainly from graves and sanctuaries. The decoration of the handle with a Siren is typical of the second half of the 5th c. BC and is associated with workshops in Central Greece (Attica, Boeotia, Euboea) or the Peloponnese (Corinth). The frequent use of hydrias with similar decoration as cinerary urns is obviously related to the ambiguous nature of the Sirens. In epic poetry, these mythical creatures with the body of a bird and the head of a woman are pictured as daemons that bewitch and exterminate mortals (Odyssey XII, 153ff.). However, later poetic tradition presents them as more ennobling, their mellifluous songs accompanying the dead in the Underworld and comforting the living (e.g. Euripides, Helen, 167).