Skip to Content
Closed today, next open Thursday. Closed today, next open Thursday.

Loutrophoros (Container for Bath Water)

A work made of terracotta, red-figure.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

Image actions

  • A work made of terracotta, red-figure.


350-340 BCE


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.


On View, Gallery 151


Arts of the Ancient Mediterranean and Byzantium


Ancient Greek


Loutrophoros (Container for Bath Water)


Apulia (Object found in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

350 BCE–340 BCE


terracotta, red-figure


88 × 37.5 × 26 cm (34 3/4 × 14 3/4 × 10 1/4 in.)

Credit Line

Katherine K. Adler Memorial Fund

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

Learn more.

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


Sign up for our enewsletter to receive updates.

Learn more

Image actions