Marble calyx-krater with reliefs of maidens and dancing maenads

Period: Imperial

Date: 1st century A.D.

Culture: Roman

Medium: Marble, Pentelic

Dimensions: H. 31 3/4 in. (80.7 cm)

Classification: Stone Sculpture

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1923

Accession Number: 23.184


The peristyle courtyards and gardens of the villas belonging to wealthy Romans were filled with fountains, sculpture, and monumental ornaments, such as this vase. Many of these decorative works were eclectic combinations of shapes and motifs drawn from Greek art that had been produced some five hundred years earlier. The six female figures that surround this vase are copies and adaptations taken from Greek (Attic) reliefs of the late fifth and fourth centuries B.C. On one side, two modestly wrapped maidens approach a girl playing a double flute. On the other side, three maenads, consorts of the god Dionysos, dance in abandon to the music of wooden clappers. The gnarled trees above the handles and the handle attachments in the form of satyrs' heads evoke a bacchic celebration in a woodland setting.