Willard B. Causey (Santa Ana, California), donated to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1982.
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Currently on view at: Getty Villa, Gallery 104A, Archaic and Classical Greece
Athens, Greece (Place Created)
51.3 × 27.8 cm (20 3/16 × 10 15/16 in.)
Bands of meanders, diamonds, ovals, and zigzags decorate the neck and body of this oinochoe (pitcher), while a frieze of stylized birds encircles the rim. The geometric patterns and abstracted rendering of the birds on this vase are characteristic of a new artistic style that emerged in Greece between 900 B.C. and 700 B.C., accordingly known as the Geometric period. Appearing first in Athens, this style quickly spread throughout the Greek world. Rows of meanders, chevrons, triangles, and checkerboard designs often covered the entire surface of decorated vases. Elaborate vessels such as this one were typically placed in graves, perhaps after use at the funerary meal that was held before burial. It may have been used to pour wine for ceremonial offerings or dining.