About this artwork
The circular dish with knobs alongside its handles is a characteristically Apulian vessel. A patera was typically used to pour libations, but this example is unusually large. Bands of varying width containing repetitive patterns and scrolling tendrils interrupted by female heads surround a central scene depicting Hermes, the god of travelers, leading the harvest goddess Demeter and her daughter Persephone from the underworld, where the girl had been held captive by Hades. Persephone was forced to return for part of every year, and during that time Demeter’s displeasure would cause the fertile earth to turn barren. Her story symbolized the life, death, and rebirth of both crops and people.
- Ancient Greek
- Knob-Handled Patera (Dish)
- 330 BCE–320 BCE
- terracotta, decorated in the red-figure technique
- 17.7 × 67.3 × 68.5 cm (7 × 26 1/2 × 27 in.)
- Katherine K. Adler Memorial Fund