Attributed to the Varrese Painter Greek; Apulia, Italy
About this artwork
The towering form and ornate handles of this vase are unique to workshops in Southern Italy. The abundance of delicate white and yellow accents, which were added after the firing of the main scenes, is also characteristic of this region. Vessels like this were designed to hold water for ritual bathing before marriage, but they could also be placed at the tombs of young women who did not live to a marriageable age.
This example likely served such a purpose, as it depicts a woman within a naiskos, a temple-like structure that would mark the gravesite of a wealthy family. On its body, the bride (the central figure seated on a folding stool) is surrounded by female friends and family members. The objects they hold, such as hand mirrors, jewelry, and perfume flasks, represent the ritual of beautifying and preparing the bride for her wedding day—a practice still carried out today.
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