Water jar (hydria) with women at the fountain

Archaic Period
about 520 B.C.
the Priam Painter

Place of Manufacture: Greece, Attica, Athens

Catalogue Raisonné

CVA Boston 2, pl. 081.


Height: 53 cm (20 7/8 in.); Diameter (with handles): 37 cm (14 9/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Ceramic, Black Figure

On View

Daily Life in Ancient Greece Gallery (Gallery 212A-B)


The Ancient World



This water jar is decorated in two main areas: the large scene on the body, and the smaller scene on the shoulder of the vessel.
The main scene shows five women filling their water jars (hydriae) at a fountain house (krene), from four lionheaded and one donkeyheaded spouts. The women are unusually dressed up for such an errand: they wear elegant dresses, head coverings and jewelry. Reeds trail from architrave of fountain-house, marking the setting as rather damp. The fountainhouse is of the Doric architectural order: the columns have no bases, and the capital is made of two sections, the cushion, or echinus, and the square top, the abacus. There also appears to be a frieze of metopes above.

The shoulder of the vessel depicts a four-horse (quadriga) race. The charioteers wear their typical garment, which is a long shift dress. They hold the reins and a stick used to goad the horses to run faster.


By date unknown: with Hesperia Art, 2219 St. James Place, Philadelphia 3, Pa.; April 12, 1961: purchased by MFA from Hesperia Art for $ 6750.00.

Credit Line

William Francis Warden Fund