Water jar (hydria (water jar)

Greek, South Italian
Late Classical to Early Hellenistic Period
about 330–320 B.C.
Painter The Ixion Painter

Place of Manufacture: Italy, Campania

Catalogue Raisonné

Vase-Painting in Italy (MFA), no. 090.


Height: 54 cm (21 1/4 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Ceramic, Red Figure

Not On View


Europe, The Ancient World



A warrior on the left confronts two like companions, all wearing armor rendered in added white. The pair at the right wear chitons, cuirasses, belts, and Attic helmets and hold spears in their right hands, which they rest on their shoulders. The one at the left carries a shield on his left arm; the one at the right rests his shield on his left arm; the one at the right rests his shield on the ground. Each has one leg drawn back and is listening intently to the helmeted warrior at the far left. This warrior wears a broad white belt over his short tunic and, instead of a full cirass, wears a smaller, three-disk breastplate. He gestures toward the other two warriors as though addressing them. This action and his distinctive garb may indicate that he is their commander. He has no spear, and his shield has lost nearly all of its white coloring, retaining only the yellow device: a Macedonian star. The damaged device on the middle warrior’s shield was perhaps a gorgoneion, while that of the right-hand warrior is a circle of dots. The crests of the two warriors at the right overlap the reserved line that demarcates the shoulder zone. The warrior at the left also wears an Attic helmet, with a long crest and a palmette on the side. A pair of rosettes, edged with white, floats in the upper field at left and right. The curious hook-shaped plant by the warrior at the left is a hallmark of the Ixion Painter; compare those on Oxford 1894.5 (Trendall, LCS, p. 339, no. 802, pl. 133, 6). Below each side handle is a large female head wearing a spotted sakkos with a bow on top, large white earrings, and a white necklace.

A band of dotted egg-pattern circles the rim, and black tongues nearly encircle the roots of the side handles. The back of the body is filled with an elaborate complex of palmettes, tendrils, and quadrated disks. The groundline circling the lower body consists of a band of wave-pattern. The front of the neck is filled with a large palmette framed by tall flowers. Running around the shoulder is a large ivy vine with attached rosettes; in the center is a large white disk with a yellow cross. The ivy leaves are edged with white, as are the rosettes. A single reserved stripe circles the stem of the foot.

The Ixion Painter often put large female heads below the handles of his hydrai (e.g., London F 320 [LCS, p. 341, no. 813, pl. 133, 2]), which also has similar decoration on the shoulder. For the warriors, compare those on Berlin 4982, 45 and Chicago 89.24 (LCS, p. 338, no. 784, pl. 131, 1, and p. 339, no. 798, pl. 132, 1-3).

(text from Vase-Painting in Italy, catalogue entry no. 90)


1970: published by A. D. Trendall, The Red-Figured Vases of Lucania, Campania and Sicily, First Supplement, 1970, p. 59, no. 813a, as: Boston 1970.238 (ex Royal Athena Galleries); 1970: Paul E. Manheim Collection; gift to MFA by Paul E. Manheim, March 11, 1970

Credit Line

Gift of Paul E. Manheim