The J. Paul Getty Museum

Oinochoe Handle

Object Details


Oinochoe Handle






Macedonia or Illyria, Magna Graecia (Place Created)


100–1 B.C.


Silver with gilding

Object Number:



27 × 9.5 × 25 cm, 0.4553 kg (10 5/8 × 3 3/4 × 9 13/16 in., 1.0038 lb.)

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Object Description

Triton, a mythological creature, half-man, half-sea serpent, forms this silver handle now detached from its original vessel. Triton once held a trident, a frequent attribute of sea beings, in his left hand, and gilding elaborated much of the handle's surface. The figure's torso would have stood up over the rim of the vessel as a decorative element. The scaly lower body of Triton formed the functional part of the handle. The acanthus leaves from which the torso emerges served to hide the join between the handle and the rim of the vessel.

The form of the handle suggests that it was originally attached to an oinochoe or pitcher. Such an elaborate oinochoe would have been part of an ornate set of serving and drinking vessels owned by a wealthy person.

- 1985

Torkom Demirjian (New York, New York), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1985.

Ancient Art from the Permanent Collection (March 16, 1999 to May 23, 2004)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), March 16, 1999 to May 23, 2004
Poseidon and the Sea: Myth, Cult, and Daily Life (February 8, 2014 to March 15, 2015)
  • Joslyn Art Museum (Omaha), February 8 to May 11, 2014
  • Tampa Museum of Art (Tampa), June 14 to November 30, 2014
  • Hood Museum of Art (Hanover), January 17 to March 15, 2015

"Acquisitions/1985." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 14 (1986), p. 196, no. 71.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Calendar (May 1986), under "Recent Acqusiistions.".

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 3rd ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1991), p. 56.

Barr-Sharrar, Beryl. "A Silver Triton Handle in the Getty Museum," Studia Varia from the J. Paul Getty Museum 1. Occasional Papers on Antiquities 8 (1993), pp. 99-106, figs. 1a-f.

Icard-Gianolio, Noelle. "Tritones." In Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae VIII (1997), pp. 73-85, p. 75, no. 27; pl. 49.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Antiquities Collection (Los Angeles: 2002), p. 48.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Antiquities Collection. Rev. ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2010), p. 94.

Curtis, Robert I, and Seth D. Pevnick. Poseidon and the Sea: Myth, Cult and Daily Life. Tampa Museum of Art, exh. cat. (London: Giles, 2014), p. 125, cat. 12.; negative view p. 185.

Lapatin, Kenneth. Luxus: The Sumptuous Arts of Greece and Rome (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2015), pp. 98, 240, pl. 71.

De Decker, Klara. “Iconography of the Sea World on Late Hellenistic Bronze Vessels.” In Artistry in Bronze: The Greeks and Their Legacy (XIXth International Congress on Ancient Bronzes). Jens M. Daehner, et al., eds. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum; Getty Conservation Institute, 2017) http:​//​/publications​/artistryinbronze​/vessels​/27-dedecker​/ (accessed February 20, 2018).