• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 2007

    Antiquities

    4 June 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 184

    AN ATTIC RED-FIGURED LEBES GAMIKOS

    WORKSHOP OF THE NAPLES PAINTER, CIRCA 430 B.C.

    Price Realised  

    AN ATTIC RED-FIGURED LEBES GAMIKOS
    WORKSHOP OF THE NAPLES PAINTER, CIRCA 430 B.C.
    The obverse centered by the bride facing right, seated on a klismos, wearing a chiton, her hair in a sakkos, holding a large alabastron, an attendant standing before her wearing a peplos, offering a basket in her right hand, another standing behind her wearing a chiton, offering a chest with a hanging sash, a winged goddess below each handle, each bearing a torch, the reverse with two standing draped women, one holding an alabastron; vertical lines on the shoulders, the knobbed lid with reserved bands
    8¼ in. (20.9 cm.) high


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    The lebes gamikos was a distinctive vessel form thought to have been presented to the bride as a wedding gift. According to Reeder (p. 229 and 233 in Pandora, Women in Classical Greece), "In the Classical era the lebes gamikos was exclusively associated with the wedding and apparently served no other function than to hold sprigs of myrtle evocative of fertility and joy." The scenes depicted on them are always connected with matrimony, as here, and often include winged females, "variously identified as Nikai and as chthonic (Underworld) deities, for whom it was customary to offer libations as part of wedding ritual." Their presence "reminds us that every bride was envisioned as inhabiting a supra-human sphere, coming to occupy through the wedding ritual a status approximating that of the divine brides Pandora and Thetis." For related lebetes gamikoi see nos. 28 and 58, op. cit.

    Provenance

    with Franz Waldner, Munich, 1970s.
    German Private Collection.