May 2019

Attic red-figure pelike

© Ministry of Culture and Sports-AMTh. Attic red-figure pelike

This Attic red-figure pelike (ΜΘ 11572) was excavated in Thessaloniki, in a burial on Athinon Street.

Side A depicts a bust of a winged griffin, a female head and the bust of a horse in profile to the right. The woman is wearing a Phrygian hat, decorated with dots along the fringe.  Added white colour was used for the rendition of the female skin. The human head with an oriental headdress, accompanied by griffins (or horses) has been variously interpreted: as an Amazon, as an Arimaspian (the Arimaspians were a mythical tribe living in north Scythia) or a goddess (Great Mother, Artemis, Vendis, Aphrodite etc.). In any case, it was a popular theme on late red-figure Attic vases, mostly intended for the Black Sea markets, where myths about the Grypomachy, the Amazonomachy or the aforementioned deities.

Side B depicts two youths wearing himatia, one holding a discus, with a stele between them.

The vase belongs to the Group of Mytilene 590 and dates to 320-310 BC.


Height: 27.8 cm
Rim diameter: 18.5 cm
Base diameter: 10.2 cm

The exhibit is located at the temporary exhibition "Copying (in) the past: imitation and inspiration stories".