About this object

This amphora, probably Attic,is decorated in the black-figure technique and one of its two handles is missing. The ampora has a long oblong body, a round disc shaped base, a short and thick neck and a wide disc shape rim that has a recess in its interior. Both the exterior and interior side of the rim are in black, the neck has decoration of vertical five petal flowers, positioned antithetically from the top to the botton of the neck and interrupted in the middle by a chain motif. The base of the neck has a band of think lines in panels. The lines alternate in brown and black .

Underneath the main scenes on the body of the amphora there there are two bands: one with continuous upright pointed leaves joined together by circular lines and another band of bigger upright pointed leaves just above the base. The disc shaped base is in black. On the one side of the body there is a scene of two seated men, dressed in a short chiton and the Corinthian crested helmet raised on their head. The men are both bearded and seem to be playing a chess or board game. They both hold a long spear on one of their hands and their shields are to their back. Their armour indicates they may be waiting to go for war. The men may be Ajax and Achilles waiting to leave for Troy or already in Troy, a scene that became popular in Attic pottery.

Athena is standing in between the two seated men, her body is to the front but her head is turning to her right facing one of the men. She also holds in her right hand a long spear and has her left one raised almost in a halting gesture, perhaps she is interrupting the game, alerting the men to the battle starting. Most of the details on the men's bodies, drapery and equipment are in incision or thin white lines, their beards in dark brown. Athena's cloak details are also incised, her face and hands are in white. The lower part of the board box is in dark brown, the top end in white. On the other side the central figure is of standing bearded man who wears a wreath, his body faces to his left but his head turns to the right. He has his right hand bent and raised to chest height, with the left hand he holds the drinking vessel of kantharos. Because of his wreath and drinking vessel he is identified as Dionysos.

He stands in between two women with long hair and dressed in long chitons that cover most of the bodies and a himation around their shoulders. The woman to the left ( from the viewer's point ) of Dionysus seems to be in movement because of her raised left ankle at the back and advancing right foot. She has one hand bent and raised to the folds of the himation and the left one in a gesture towards Dionysus. The woman to the right of Dionysus is more static, her himation covers her right hand and she holds a wine pouring vessel: an oinochoi with a trefoil mouth. The women may be maenads, the companions of Dionysus or simply serving maids. Their bodies, drapery have details in incised lines, the feet and faces of the women are in white and the beard of the god in dark brown. ]

In between the women and the god, hanging vertically are vine stems with grapes on them. The areas by the handles of the vessel have four palmettes, joined together by long circular stems and ending in a hanging crocus shaped flower. The amphora has had many repairs on the neck, main body and the base.

Object specifics

  • Type
    Container
  • Culture
    Attic
  • Artist/Maker
    Unknown or unrecorded
  • Place made
    Europe: Southern Europe: Greece: Athens
  • Date made
    550 BC - 500 BC
  • Materials
    Pottery
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Acquisition
    Bequest of Lt. Col. John Raymond Danson
  • Collector
    Francis Chatillon Danson
  • Place collected
    Unknown or unrecorded
  • Date collected
    Unknown or unrecorded
  • Measurements
    414 mm x 250 mm x 250 mm
  • Note
    The scene of Ajax and Achilles playing a board game became popular with vase painters and was celebrated by a marble group on the Acropolis of Athens but it was never included in the Homeric poems. In a line of Euripides recited by Dionyson in Aristophane's Frogs ' Achilles threw two ices and a four'. It is ambigious whether the scene took place in Aulis or Troy.
  • Related people
    Edith Danson (Previous owner); Francis Chatillon Danson (Collector, previous owner); John Raymond Danson (Previous owner)

Ownership

Previous owners

  • Francis Chatillon Danson

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1926-07-03
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
  • Edith Danson

    Owned from: 1926-07-03
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1950-08-03
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
  • John Raymond Danson

    Owned from: 1950-08-03
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1976-06-18
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
Object view = Humanities
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