Apulian Volute Krater with Symposium Scene


A superb Apulian volute krater vase, painted in the red-figure technique. The vase features a large body, resting on a small foot, a short neck and a wide, flaring mouth. Two applied handles extend from the rim to the vessel’s shoulders. This particular wine-mixing vessel is one of the most elaborate and lavish examples of Apulian pottery production, featuring the distinctive presence of the masks in relief on the scrolls of the handles.

Side A depicts a bearded male figure portrayed reclining on the kline, the Greco-inspired couch, holding his drinking cup, kylix. The figure is shown finely draped in a long tunic and wearing a headpiece added in additional white pigment. The man is probably here depicted while playing the kottabos, a popular symposium game.

Side B depicts a young female figure, shown running right and facing left, while holding a plate with offerings on her left hand and a situla on her right hand. The figure is portrayed wearing an elegant draped chiton, and with her hair styled in a graceful chignon, covered with a sakkos and a radiate stephane. Jewellery at her ears and wrists have been added in additional white pigment, coloured with a yellow-ochre wash.

The vessel is further enriched to the neck and shoulders with a geometrical and palmettes decoration. Floral additions have been added to act as background fillers.

Date: Circa 4th century BC
Condition: Fine, with some professional repairs.


SKU: FP-130 Category: Tags: , ,

Apulia was a region of southern Italy that was famed for its glossy black glazed ware pottery and for its polychromatic decoration – often using shades of white, ochre and red. Apulian vessels were used for sacred ceremonial purposes, rather than everyday tasks. Ceremonial pieces were often placed as offerings in tombs, thus their subject corresponds with the iconography of funerary rituals.

The scene depicted illustrates a symposium, the aristocratic drinking party which found its origin in Classical Greece. In Ancient Greek and Roman society symposia were considered social occasion in which men gathered together to discuss politics, philosophy and art, while enjoying music, dances and, obviously, wine. A variety of drinking vessels was used in Greek and Roman symposia, including kraters like this extraordinary example.

To find out more about different types of Greek vessel please see our relevant blog post: Collecting Greek Vases.

Weight 1000 g
Dimensions H 30 cm

Pottery and Porcelain