Libation bowl (phiale)

Classical Period
about 450 B.C.
The Painter of London D12

Place of Manufacture: Greece, Attica, Athens


Overall: 3.2 × 22.5 cm (1 1/4 × 8 7/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Ceramic, White Ground

Not On View


The Ancient World



The interior of this libation bowl, used for liquid sacrifices, depicts what appears to be a religious ritual, in which girls dance around an altar. The girls are identically dressed in flowing dresses (chitones) and pink mantles (himatia) and are barefoot, and all but one wars her hair up.. Seven of them grasp each other by the wrist, but do not join at the ends, so it is unclear whether or not they are simply meant to be in a row, or a circle. One other girl faces the altar, playing the double pipes to facilitate the dance. Upon the altar is a burnt offering, evidenced by the high flames. To the right of the altar is a wool basket (kalathos) and a ribbon hanging above. These are either priestesses or initiates.


1965, sold by Petros (Peter) Vitalis to the MFA. (Accession Date: September 22, 1965)

NOTE: Said to have been found with MFA accession no. 65.1166.

Credit Line

Edwin E. Jack Fund