Black Figure Pelike

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This small vessel is an ancient wine jug. Its decorative qualities and detailing on the body are a maenad, which is the female figure, accompanied by two satyrs, which are half man and half goat. Both these mythological figures are followers the god Dionysus, who is the god of wine. These iconographic associations on the exterior signal to its original function as a wine jug. In ancient Greek society these types of vessels provide clues into their drinking habits and customs, however due to the loss of its original context it is difficult to discern who would have used it.


Conservation History

Initial Condition

The vessel was fragmented in eighteen sherds, and upon analysis revealed signs of multiple adhesives used suggesting multiple restoration attempts. The previous adhesive, probably shellac, like many of the other vessels was not applied carefully and the excess spilled onto the surface of the fragments. The sherds’ surfaces included signs of damage from the shellac, flaking, and discoloration of the black slip. In addition, there are dirt and surface incrustations due to poor storage or originating from its original burial context.

Conservation Treatments

In order to reassemble the sherds, each one required mechanical and chemical cleaning. This was done to remove previous shellac, and plaster, as well as surface dirt and salt efflorescence. These fragments were then primed and adhered using Paraloid B72. To complete the vessels surface, filling with plaster was done to complete the areas of loss. Lastly, in painting applied to the filling to display an aesthetic continuity of the original artifact.


0. Identification: AA1635

1. Institution: Department of Classics; Art Conservation, Queen’s University  (Kingston, Ontario, Canada)

2. Identification references: AA1635

3.1. Category: Storage object; archaeological artifact

3.2. Designation:  Jug

3.3. Name: Black Figure Pelike

3.4. Details: Diniacopoulos Collection

4.2. Description of iconography: meanad; satyrs

4.3. Iconographic analysis: Mythical scene in association with wine

5.1. Material: Clay; black slip

5.2. Technique:  Painted; hand thrown

6.1. Unit: Cm

6.2. Height: h 13.0 cm

6.3 Length: l 10.0 cm

6.5. Diameter: di 6.82 cm (rim)

6.7. Form: Recessed base; squat body; cylindrical neck; rounded lip; applied handle appendages

7.1. Manner of discovery:  acquired by Vincent and Olga Diniacopoulos

7.2. Place of discovery: Mediterranean Basin

8.3. Region, style, workshop: Greek

9.1. Inscription or Mark “Type” : abrasion; flaking; incised

9.2. Position: exterior

9.3. Description of transcription: signs of damage on the upper sections to the black slip; incised decoration on body

10.2. Epoch: 6th century BCE

11.1. Acquisition method:  donation

11.2. Date of acquisition:  2001

11.3. Previous owner: Diniacopoulos, Olga