Funerary vase (bell-krater)

Greek, South Italian
Early Hellenistic Period
Early 3rd century B.C.

Place of Manufacture: Italy, Sicily, Centuripe

Catalogue Raisonné

Vase-Painting in Italy (MFA), no. 151.


Height (including lid): 58.1 cm (22 7/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


Europe, The Ancient World



Early 3rd century B.C.
The decoration is confined to one side. Above the white, high-stemmed foot, the body nestles in a bed of modeled acanthus leaves and berries on pink ground. The berries are gilded, and the leaves are blue with gilded stems. Circular impressions make it clear that plastic rosettes or phialai were attached above the berries. The rim between the handles is decorated with a gilded leaf-and-tongue molding in applied relief, above which is a band of painted rectangles in red, pink, and blue outlined in black on a white ground. The handles are in pink and gold, with gilded, plastic leaves at the roots (much damaged).
The scene painted on the body comprises a seated female flanked by two maids. The women have white skin and wear wreaths of light blue leaves with a central yellow oval. Their features and hair are red, and their chitons are white. The servant at the left, who wears a skimpy red himation with yellow stripes, proffers a phiale with a tall pile of circular offerings to her mistress. The servant on the right holds a parasol outlined in yellow above the seated woman’s head. A pink bow hangs from the upper edge of the scene behind this servant. Tall scrolls frame the scene, and under each handle is what appears to be a large white leaf. The domed lid is painted with three rows of white leaves, in shape more like acorns than ivy, interspersed with four tall, vertical leaves in pink. On both the body and lid the background is black. The gilded knob is hollow and painted red on top.
For the decoration of the rim, compare Syracuse 35946; U. Wintermeyer, Jdl 90 (1975), p. 205. For the iconography of this and similar scenes, see J. R. Green, North Carolina Museum of Art Bulletin 14, no. 4 (1990), pp. 49-59.


By date unknown: with Elie Borowski, Angensteinerstrasse 7, Basel, Switzerland; purchased by MFA from Elie Borowski, May 13, 1970

Credit Line

Arthur Tracy Cabot Fund