The J. Paul Getty Museum

Funerary Amphora with Scenes of Mourning

Object Details


Funerary Amphora with Scenes of Mourning


Attributed to the Philadelphia Painter


Greek (Attic)


Greece (Place Created)


720–700 B.C.



Object Number:



70.2 × 33 cm (27 5/8 × 13 in.)

Credit Line:

Purchased in part with funds provided by the Villa Council

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Object Description

Bands of meanders, waves, cables, and checkerboards are interspersed with figural scenes on this amphora (storage vessel). A row of dancing women decorates one side of the neck, while the opposite side depicts dancing men accompanied by a flute player. A frieze of grazing horses runs along the shoulder. Below this are processions of men in chariots and warriors carrying round shields. Snakes modeled in the round decorate the handles of the vase, as well as the rim and the shoulder.

The anatomical details of the figures and animals on this vase are reduced to simple geometric shapes, a style characteristic of Greek Geometric art (about 900-700 B.C.). Painted figural scenes in this period focused primarily on funerary rituals and the world of heroic warriors. Large vases such as this one originally served as grave markers. The dancing figures on the neck of the vessel are likely engaged in a ritual dance, while the chariots and armed soldiers on the body represent ceremonial processions or funerary games. Snakes were traditionally associated with death, and probably also refer to the vases’ function as a grave monument.

by 1963 - 2012

Private Collection (Düsseldorf, Germany) [sold, Düsseldorfer Auktionshaus, Düsseldorf, November 23, 2012, lot 1332, to Search Fine Arts, Ltd.]

2012 - 2016

Search Fine Arts, Ltd, sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 2016.

Griechische Plastik: Vasen und Kleinkunst: Leihgaben aus Privatbesitz (May 27 to September 27, 1964)
  • Staatliche Museen (Kassel), May 27 to September 27, 1964
Weltkunst aus Privatbesitz (May 18 to August 4, 1968)
  • Kunsthalle Köln (Cologne), May 18 to August 4, 1968

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