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Passport to the Past

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Krater

1275 BCE-1225 BCE
17 1/2 in. (44.5 cm)

Unknown, Mycenaean
Mycenaean

Object Type: Ceramics
Medium and Support: Terracotta, paint
Credit Line: R.T. Miller Fund
Accession Number: 1951.204
Location: Currently on view
Link to this object
Collection: Frederic Morgan Collection

A krater is a large, wide-mouthed jar, often used for mixing wine and water. These two kraters [51.203, 51.204] were found on Cyprus, an important island in the trade routes of the ancient Mediterranean and location of a significant Mycenaean colony. They likely served a funerary function, holding wine at the funeral feast, or containing the cremated remains of the deceased.

The similar scenes on these two kraters represent the popular Mycenaean decorative motif of horse-drawn war chariots. The vase painter represented the two horses as a single body with two heads, two tails, and two pairs of forelegs and hind legs.

The scene may refer to honors for a fallen warrior as described by Homer in the Iliad, where, during the Trojan War, the Greek hero Achilles led a solemn chariot procession in tribute to his dead companion Patroclus.

[Gallery label text, 2009]

Provenance
Possibly Joseph Clark Hoppin (1870-1925), Cambridge, MA; possibly purchased from him by Frederic Grinnell Morgan, Aurora, NY; purchased from his estate by the Gallery in 1951

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