Terracotta bell-krater (bowl for mixing wine and water)

Attributed to the Painter of London E 497

Period: Classical

Date: ca. 440 B.C.

Culture: Greek, Attic

Medium: Terracotta; red-figure

Dimensions: H. 11 5/8 in. (29.5 cm)
diameter of mouth 12 13/16 in. (32.6 cm)

Classification: Vases

Credit Line: Fletcher Fund, 1924

Accession Number: 24.97.30


Orpheus, the best known of the mythical musicians, is associated with Thrace in the northernmost part of Greece. After he had descended into the underworld to find his beloved wife, Eurydice, and had lost her, he withdrew into solitude. Feeling rebuffed, Thracian women set upon Orpheus and killed him. Here he is shown seated on a rock formation and engrossed in his music. The central figure, wearing typical Thracian dress, identifies the setting, while the woman who holds a sickle in her left hand foreshadows Orpheus's fate.