Lebes Gamikos

Classical Greek (Red-Figure Pottery) 

replica: from the Hermitage Museum, Leningrad

date of the original: middle 4th century BC 

provenance of the original: Kerch (ancient Pantikapaion), Greece

description: Red-figure nuptial vessel. Original by the Marsyas Painter. Pottery replica; pottery original. Height 46 cm, diameter 30 cm.

The lebes gamikos is a wedding bowl distinguishable by its high looping handles set on either shoulder. Like the loutrophorous, this vessel would likely have been used to bring water for the ritual bridal bath. Using the red-figure technique, the artist of this vessel, the “Marsyas Painter,” depicts a nuptial scene including the bride and her female attendants, as well as various objects related to the wedding ceremony. It is likely that this is a portrayal of the day after the wedding ceremony, the epaulia, when the bride, now unveiled, sits in her new home and is greeted by guests bearing gifts. In the centre of the scene the young bride is depicted seated on a gilded chair, draped in a himation with little Eros (see: Head of Eros) on her lap. A young girl offers the bride a lekanis or covered dish, while others prepare to offer her such items as small chests, a nuptial lebes, a pyxis (see:Ivory Pyxis), and a basket.

(See also: Woman/Maiden AlabastronMaiden/Muse Lekythos.)