This is a splendid example of an olpe, an
earthenware vessel lacking a spout used for
pouring liquids and oils. The stunning painted
decoration is representative of the expert level of
artistry achieved in the city of Athens, both by
the potters and the painters. The elegant
curving forms of the olpe are a noteworthy
achievement in and of themselves. A centrally
ribbed handle rises out of the body of the pot
and terminates in rotelles where it joins the rim.
The frontal painted scene represents a satyr
carrying off a maenad. The mythological
creature carries a horn in his left hand, his beard
and tail both highlighted in red. The maenad
wears a himation elaborated with red dots and a
red stripe. Two dotted vines arch out from
behind her. A band of ivy leaves frames the sides
of the scenes while various patterned bands,
including the meander motif and a checkerboard
pattern, frame the top. By far, this scene is the
centerpiece of this extraordinary example of
Attic vases. Ancient Greek civilization is famed
today for their many philosophical and political
achievements. However, nothing is more
immediate and impressive as their pottery.
Through examples such as this, the golden age
of Athens becomes tangible and eternal.
Although the Parthenon may stand in ruins
today, when we hold this Attic olpe in our hands,
we can envision the past and the glories of
Ancient Greece alive and vibrant again.