Greek Red Figure Vessel

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Despite this piece missing its base, it is most likely a lebes gamikos. This type of vessel was one of the few associated with women. The rituals surrounding marriage would have involved bathing, the water for which, would have be in this type of vessel. Furthermore, this type of vessel would have been put at burial sites of unwed women. The iconographic program seems to fit this association as it has three women, flanked by two winged women. This ancient Greek vessel is also complete with geometric patterns, supporting its ritualistic purpose by the attention given to decorative detailing.


Conservation History

Initial Condition

The surviving portion of this large vessel includes seventy-three sherds of the upper portion. These pieces show signs of previous adhesive and filling suggesting multiple restoration efforts to display this piece’s aesthetic qualities. Clean edges on some of the sherds show that the reconstructed vessel was broken after burial. In addition, less noticeable areas of the vessel where not cleaned of original dirt from burial site.

Conservation Treatment

The conservation treatment took place over several years. The old shellac adhesive required softening prior to removal. Once the shellac was removed through mechanical and chemical cleaning, the sherds were desalinated and remaining accretions were cleaned. The sherds were primed and adhered with Paraloid B72. Plaster was used to fill several areas of loss and an appropriate storage container was constructed.


0. Identification: AA1827

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

2. Identification references: AA1827

3.1. Category: funerary object; wedding object;  archaeological artifact

3.2. Designation:  jar

3.3. Name: Greek Red Figure Vessel

3.4. Details: Diniacopoulos Collection

4.2. Description of iconography: female figures; geometric pattern;

4.3. Iconographic analysis: Possible representations of death or wedding rituals.

5.1. Material: clay; clay slip; black slip

5.2. Technique: Painted; hand thrown

6.1. Unit: cm

6.2. Height: h

6.5. Diameter: di

6.7. Form: missing base; cylindrical body; recurved shoulder; applied neck; applied handle appendage

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

9.2. Position: exterior neck; handles

9.3. Description of transcription: black slip worn away due to burial or use

10.2. Epoch: 5th -1st century BCE

11.1. Acquisition method: Donation

11.2. Date of acquisition: 2001

11.3. Previous owner: Diniacopoulos, Olga