Terracotta situla (bucket)

Attributed to the Lycurgus Painter

Period: Late Classical

Date: ca. 360–340 B.C.

Culture: Greek, South Italian, Apulian

Medium: Terracotta; red-figure

Dimensions: H. 10 11/16 in. (27.1 cm)

Classification: Vases

Credit Line: Fletcher Fund, 1956

Accession Number: 56.171.64


A situla is a bucket that served to decant wine. The shape is well attested in metal examples and in terracotta counterparts of different types. This piece presents a spirited depiction of the wine god Dionysos driving his griffin-drawn chariot to a gathering of his followers. Particularly engaging is the old satyr dipping a jug into the decorated calyx-krater, probably to fill the libation bowl in his left hand. On the back, Dionysos is seated between a satyr and a maenad and is surrounded by attributes, including a fawn, a cista (cylindrical box), and wreaths. The head on the underside of the vase is unusual and appears to be a whimsical, last-minute addition by the vase painter.