Red Figure Loutrophoros

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This impressive ancient Greek loutrophoros is the largest piece of the collection. Its impressive height supplies ample room for decorative features that could link it to wedding rituals. Despite this artifacts fragmentary appearance it is structurally reinforced by in filling keeping the one-hundred and fifty-five sherds in place.

These types of vessels are commonly thought to be used in weeding rituals, where the groom presents the water to the bride so that she may bathe and symbolically wash away her previous life to become a woman. This large vessel would have originally been constructed in sections on a potter’s wheel, after which the pieces were attached using slip.



Conservation History

Initial Condition:

Several restoration efforts were attempted on this vessel during the 20th century. Although, no records exist, the reassembly was attempted using shellac. In many cases filling was also attempted, yet residue of the filling was also found on the interior of many sherds implying a hasty application. The surface painted decoration was discolored and faded.

Conservation Treatment

Due to the delicate nature of the fragments, and the hard residuals left by shellac not all of the staining was able to be removed from the sherds without damaging them. The shellac, and plaster were softened and then removed using a combination of ethanol and acetone. The fragments were then primed and adhered together in sections. The large areas of loss required filling with new plaster for its structural stability. The plaster in fillings were then finished by sanding and in painted with earth pigments. after completing the vessel, several remaining sherds were unattributed to this artifact.


0. Identification: AA1888

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

2. Identification references: AA1888

3.1. Category: storage object; archaeological artifact

3.2. Designation:  jug

3.3. Name: Red Figure Loutrophoros

3.4. Details: Diniacopoulos Collection

4.2. Description of iconography: female figures; meanders; lotuses, petals

4.3. Iconographic analysis: Allegories of funeral or marriage rites.

5.1. Material :clay; black slip

5.2. Technique:  hand thrown on wheel; sections adhered with slip; painted

6.1. Unit: cm

6.2. Height: h 26.5 cm (base)

6.5. Diameter: di 16.5 cm

6.7. Form: oval base; cylindrical stem; cylindrical body; recurved shoulder; oval concave 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

9.2. Position; exterior

9.3. Description of transcription: paint surface worn due to fragmentation or burial

10.2. Epoch: 500-300 BCE

11.1. Acquisition method: donation

11.2. Date of acquisition : 2001

11.3. Previous owner: Diniacopoulos, Olga