ostracon ancient art



Attic Red-figure Pelike with a Grypomachy, Group G, 350-330 BC

Large Attic pelike of the Kerch style decorated with an Arimasp on horseback fighting off two griffins.

The Amazon rides a prancing horse, turns back and raises her sword-wielding arm above the head.

The woman wears a Phrygian cap and is clad in an oriental costume with trousers. Her defeated companion lays on the ground. The griffins are shown with reserved wings.

Three draped youths on the reverse, the leftmost holding a staff. Their cursory style is reminiscent of the Group G(riffin).

For related examples, cf. Beazley Archive nos. 230206 and 230383.

The grypomachy is a battle between griffins and the Arimasps, who were generally depicted as Eastern barbarians or amazons.

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In Greek mythology griffins lived far in the north and guarded large deposits of gold. They were in permanent conflict with the tribe of the Arimasps, who regularly tried to steal their treasures.

The presence of non-Greek scenes upon Attic ceramics denotes the attempt to design wares that would appeal to foreign markets.

Specially Kerch vases were exported to the Black Sea area, many of them to the Greek colony of Panticapaeum, on the name-giving Kerch Strait.

H. 35.5 cm (14 in)
D. rim 22.5 cm (8.9 in)

Fine condition, reconstituted from fragments. White color for the the griffins, the female skin and the garments. Sword, trapping, details on the garments and on the frieze decoration piped onto the surface in barbotine technique. Cloaks of the youths abraded in places.

English private collection Wright, acquired between the late 1990s and 2002.

12600 USD

Literature: Kathleen MacDonald. The Grypomachy in Fourth-Century Attic Vase Painting. Hamilton 1987.

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