Ball depicting palaistra scenes

Greek
Late Archaic Period
about 500 B.C.


Place of Manufacture: Greece, Attica, Athens

Dimensions

Overall: 4 x 5.2 cm (1 9/16 x 2 1/16 in.)

Accession Number

63.119

Medium or Technique

Ceramic, Black Figure

On View

Gallery 212A-B

Collections

The Ancient World

Classifications

Vessels

Ball, pierced for suspension depicting palaistra scenes. Scenes painted in the frieze depict the palaistra: Man offering flower to boy, accompanied by a dog. There are also two discus-throwers, and two javelin throwers. Bottom incision encircles an incised palmette.’Yeah’ (NAI XI) painted in the field with the figures and incised on the bottom.

The painted inscription reads, “I belong to Myrrhine, indeed I do!”. Incised inscriptions at top and bottom again call Myrrhine the owner, but the top one adds, “The boy is handsome”. Inscripton incised on top of the ball: “That boy is beautiful, that is how he looks as he comes from the [games at the] funeral mounds [eria]” (HO PAIS KALOS HOS EOIKEN APO TON ERION EN) .

This vase is apparently a miniature copy of a child’s ball. A pebble was placed inside the hollow sphere so that it rattles when shaken. The two holes at top and bottom probably served to suspend the ball from a string.

Inscription

"I belong to Myrrhine" (EIMI MYRRINES) "Yeah" (NAI XI) (in paint on frieze and incised on bottom). "That boy is beautiful, that is how he looks as he comes from the [games at the] funeral mounds [eria]" (HO PAIS KALOS HOS EOIKEN APO TON ERION EN) (on top of ball).
ΕΙΜΙ ΜΥΡΡΙΝΕS (in paint on frieze and incised on bottom).
ΝΑΙ ΧΙ (in paint on frieze and incised on bottom).
ΗΟ ΠΑΙS KALOS ΗΟS ΕΟΙΚΕΝ ΑΠΟ ΤΟΝ ΕΡΙΟΝ ΕΝ (incised on top of ball).

Provenance

By 1929: with Ernest Brummer, 11 East 68th Street, New York, N.Y. (purchased by him in 1929 from Zoumboulakis in Athens); purchased by MFA from Ernest Brummer, February 13, 1963

Credit Line

Helen and Alice Colburn Fund