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

Fish Plate

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

Image actions

  • A work made of terracotta, red-figure.


400-370 BCE


Greek; Athens

About this artwork

This footed plate was made to serve succulent morsels of grilled seafood, like the fish, mollusks, and other marine creatures that are painted on its surface. Greece and Italy are peninsulas projecting into seas brimming with marine life. A primary source of protein, seafood was a basic staple of the ancient Mediterranean diet; it remains so today.

Keen observers of their subjects, ancient vase painters so accurately captured the shapes and markings of the fish they depicted that it is possible to identify most of them by species. This example is decorated with two pairs of large fish. A scallop attached to an outer band of a decorative pattern in the center separates a gilt head, on the left, from a fish known as king of the mullets, on the right. Opposite them is a lettered perch confronting a scorpion fish. Details of their anatomy were drawn with dilute glaze. Around them are shells, a small fish, and other creatures. A running wave pattern around the central concavity, with a gently sloped floor for collecting juices or serving sauces, recalls the sea, the source of the bounty.


On View, Gallery 151


Arts of the Ancient Mediterranean and Byzantium


Ancient Greek


Fish Plate


Athens (Object made 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.

400 BCE–370 BCE


terracotta, red-figure


5.1 × 34 × 34 cm (2 × 13 3/8 × 13 3/8 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Philip D. Armour and Charles L. Hutchinson

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