Bronze; H. 10 1/2 in. (26.67 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1906 (06.1093)
This exquisitely rendered handle once adorned a bronze hydria, primarily a vessel for fetching water. The upper flange, by which the handle was joined to the rim of the hydria, is decorated at each end with a sphinx wearing a polos, a cylindrical headdress. The lower flange, which was fitted to the shoulder of the vase, has two lateral projections, each fashioned in the form of a reclining banqueter. The depiction of banqueters at a symposium would have been appropriate on a vessel used to retrieve water for mixing with wine at such a social gathering. One banqueter holds a skyphos (deep drinking cup) in his right hand and a small plate in his left, and the other holds a small plate in his right hand and a keras (drinking horn) in his left. Each reclining banqueter wears a necklace and a fringed mantle that covers the body from below the waist to the ankles. Their hair is arranged in a triangular mass down the back, with a single long spiral tress falling over the front of each shoulder. Their hairstyle and musculature, as well as their thickly rimmed eyes set high on the facial plane, fit stylistically at the beginning of the sixth century B.C. A female head, also with Archaic features and also wearing a polos, emerges from a large inverted palmette at the base of the handle between the two banqueters.