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Stamnos (Mixing Jar)

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

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  • A work made of terracotta, red-figure.


480-470 BCE


Attributed to Syriskos (formerly the Copenhagen Painter)
Greek; Athens

About this artwork

On the front of this vase are three women. The woman in the centre is spinning. She wears a simple earring (as do the other women) and a decorated peplos under her himation; there is a band round her head, as her long hair flows over her shoulders. Partly behind her and to the left is a chair (klismos). On the right is a heron facing to the right. A woman on the right holds out a small seed for the hero,n which lifts its head slightly. On the left, a woman holds out a mirror in her left hand and a flower in her left. The flanking women wear chitons and himatia; that on the right has similar hair to the central figure, while the woman on the left wears a sakkos. Written in the field in added white kale (orthograde) and kale (retrograde).

On the other side of the vase is a man and two women. On the left, a woman in chiton and himation moves away to the left, but turns her head back to the right. She seems to hold a section of her himation up in front of her, perhaps adjusting its arrangement. Her hair is tied up on the nape of her neck and she wears an earring. In the centre stands a bearded man in himation, right hand over his hip, and leaning on a knotty stick. He holds out in his left hand with a money pouch to the woman on the right. She wears a chiton and a himation; her hair is unbound. Her right arm is extended. Between her and the man is a stool (diphros), above which hangs an alabastron by a red cord. The alabastron would seem to be set too low to be hung on the wall, but yet it also seems a little too far from the woman to be hanging from her hand or wrist. Above the scenes is a border of tongues; below, is a simple reserved line.

This stamnos allows us a glimpse into ancient and modern conservation practices. On one handle, two holes are visible, evidence of an ancient repair. More recently, when the adhesive that held this vessel together began to deteriorate, the object was completely disassembled. However, in the midst of taking it apart, conservators discovered that the jar was actually composed of parts from several other ancient ceramics, most notably, in the areas of the neck and foot. These pieces had been sanded to fit together and painted to unify the surface. In many cases, mismatched vessels languished in storage. Here, however, the conservators decided to reassemble the vase, put it on display, and tell its story. To do so, the conservator used a reversible adhesive to piece it back together, and then filled in the lost areas with plaster and painted them matte black so they are readily distinguishable from the ancient parts.


Currently Off View


Arts of the Ancient Mediterranean and Byzantium




Stamnos (Mixing Jar)


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.

480 BCE–470 BCE


terracotta, red-figure


38.1 × 45.8 × 14.1 cm (15 × 18 × 5 1/2 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of 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.

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Extended information about this artwork

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