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Loutrophoros: Portrait of a Young Woman

Location

SOUTHERN ITALY, APULIA

Era

5th-3rd c. B.C.E.

Culture

Italiote

Title

Loutrophoros: Portrait of a Young Woman

Date

4th c. B.C.E.

Materials

Earthenware, painted decoration

Dimensions

33.8 x 15.1 x 12.5 cm

Credits

Gift of Claude Paradis, inv. 2019.105

Collection

Archeology and World Cultures

The loutrophoros is an elongated vase that was used in nuptial ceremonies to carry water. This particular vessel had been “defunctionalized” – a practice that involved creating vases with familiar shapes but stripped of their customary use and given a purely funerary function through their miniaturization or, as in this case, the removal of their base. It might have been placed on top of a tomb so that libations poured into it could flow directly towards the deceased. This vase was probably among the offerings for the tomb of a young, unmarried woman whose profile is depicted on the body. Indeed, the head is framed within a small temple-like structure (naiskos), a motif symbolizing the death of the person portrayed.

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