Knob-handled patera

Greek, South Italian
Late Classical Period
340–330 B.C.
The Perrone-Phrixos Group

Place of Manufacture: Italy, Apulia

Catalogue Raisonné

Vase-Painting in Italy (MFA), no. 047.


Height: 18.5 cm (7 5/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Ceramic, Red Figure

Not On View


Europe, The Ancient World



Interior: In the tondo, framed by a circle of wave-pattern, are twelve marine creatures; a horn shell (cerith), a wedge clam (donax), a scallop, two dolphins, a cuttlefish, an octopus, a flying squid, a spotted torpedo, a striped perch, an angler-fish, and a dentex. Unlike the sea creatures on fish-plates, the dolphins, squid, angler-fish, and dentex on this patera are arranged in a radial pattern. The backs of the various creatures are tinted with dilute glaze and with white or yellow highlights and markings. Circling the tondo is a white vine.

Exterior: On side A, a nude youth wearing a fillet is seated on a folded drapery between a woman at right and an Eros at left. Eros holds a wreath with fillet in his left hand and a laurel branch in his right; the youth holds a phiale on his right hand and branch in his left; the woman carries a situla in her left hand and a dipper in the right. Eros wears a kekryphalos and white bracelets, ankets, earrings, and necklace. The woman wears a chiton, kekryphalos, and white shoes, bracelets, earrings, and necklace. There are fillets, rosettes, and a “window” amid the well-preserved figures. On side B, only the legs of a male at the right are preserved. The woman wears a yellow shoes; the yellow staff by her feet is a thyrsos. She may be a maenad.

Below the handles, between A and B, are elaborate complexes of palmettes and coiling tendrils. The groundline consists of groups of four stopt maeanders to left alternating with cross-squares with circles in each quadrant. There are rosettes on each of the knobs and a dotted egg-pattern around the outer rim. The top of the rm is reserved between the handles.

Compare a similar patera in the Metropolitan Musuem of Art, New York (inv. 1989.281.61), formerly in the Schimmel collection (McPhee and Trendall, Fish-Plates, p. 124, no. IVA/67, pl. 48b; RVAp, II, p. 257, no. 18/247), and a second, also from the Phrixos Group, in a Geneva private collection (McPhee and Trendall, Handbook, fig. 207; RVAp, Suppl. II, p. 158, no. 18/248a). All three paterae may be by the Phrixos Painter, to judge by the fish on his name-vase, Berlin F 3345, a patera with Phrixos riding over the sea on the ram (RVAp, II, p. 526, no. 18/244; McPhee and Trendall, Fish-plates, p. 123, no. IVA/65, pl. 48a). McPhee and Trendall, however, have also noted a close similarlity to fish on amphorae of the Perrone Group, and, in fact, it is difficult to say how many hands are at work. This Perrone-Phrixos Group was part of the large and diverse Tarentine workshop of the Darius Painter and produced not only these fish-filled paterae but also produced fish-plates of more customary shape (e.g., cat. no. 49); see McPhee and Trendall, Fish-plates, pp. 123-127, pls. 48-50.

(text from Vase-Painting in Italy, catalogue entry no. 47)


By date unknown: perhaps on the New York Art Market at Royal Athena Gallery; by 1970: Mr. and Mrs. Cornelius C. Vermeule III Collection (loaned to MFA October 1, 1970 as 171.1970); gift of Mr. and Mrs. Cornelius C. Vermeule III to MFA, April 24, 1991

Credit Line

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Cornelius C. Vermeule III