Pitcher (oinochoe)

Greek, South Italian
Classical Period
End of 5th century B.C

Place of Manufacture: Italy, Apulia

Catalogue Raisonné

Vase-Painting in Italy (MFA), no. 007.


8.9 cm (3 1/2 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Ceramic, Red Figure

Not On View


Europe, The Ancient World



A nude youth to left, head to right, holding a distaff and a small jug.
A miniature chous, less spherical.

Oinochoe (shape 3)
End of 5th century B.C.
A nude boy, a toddler, walks to the left while looking back to the right at the streptos (twisted roll) in his left hand. In his right hand he holds a miniature chous, like this very vessel. A string of charms hangs from his right shoulder. On the right is the left half of a small table.
The lateral frames are simple reserved lines; the upper frame a band of dotted egg-pattern.
The shape, style, and subject reflect strong Attic influence. Attic choes of this type, with scenes of children, have long been thought to have been connected with the Anthesteria festival, perhaps as grave goods for tots who died before being able to participate in the festival, which featured a drinking contest on the day called “Choes”; see Hoorn, “Choes and Anthesteria”, and H.W. Parke, “Festivals of the Athenians” (London, 1977), pp. 107-116. In “Choes and Anthesteria: Athenian Iconography and Ritual” (Ann Arbor, 1992), Richard Hamilton, noting the variety of subjects on miniature choes and the paucity of festival-related subjects on full-size choes, the kind actually used in the drinking contest, has suggested that the relationship between the miniature choes and the Anthesteria is not clear-cut, or at least is more complex than previously supposed. How the Apulian versions can be accounted for is not clear, but the Anthesteria was apparently celebrated in some other Ionian towns, to judge by the frequent occurrence of Anthesterion as the name of a month.


By date unknown: Howard P. Arnold Collection; gift of Howard P. Arnold to MFA, 1897

Credit Line

Gift of H. P. Arnold