The J. Paul Getty Museum

Rear Handle of a Kalpis

Object Details

Title:

Rear Handle of a Kalpis

Artist/Maker:

Unknown

Culture:

Greek

Place:

Greece (Place Created)

Date:

450–425 B.C.

Medium:

Bronze

Object Number:

96.AC.82

Dimensions:

17 × 8.3 × 5.5 cm (6 11/16 × 3 1/4 × 2 3/16 in.)

Credit Line:

Gift of Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman

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Object Description

A siren‑‑a hybrid mythological creature that is half‑human, half‑bird‑‑decorates the base of this bronze handle. Originally, this piece was the upright rear handle of a kalpis, a container for carrying water. Although the vessel itself no longer survives, the handle testifies to its elaborate nature. It is fluted and the convex circular plate that attached to the neck of the kalpis is decorated with a tongue‑pattern and beading. The siren stretches out her wings to form the plate that attached to the body of the vessel. Palmettes and spiraling tendrils run under the siren creating a lacy openwork pattern through which the highly polished surface of the vessel's body would have shown. 

Known for their hypnotic singing that could lure men to their deaths, sirens were the most popular handle element for bronze hydriai in the mid‑400s B.C.

Provenance
Provenance
- 1988

Fritz Bürki & Son (Zurich, Switzerland), sold to Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman, 1988.

1988 - 1996

Barbara Fleischman and Lawrence Fleischman, American, 1925 - 1997 (New York, New York), donated to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1996.

Exhibitions
Exhibitions
A Passion for Antiquities: Ancient Art from the Collection of Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman (October 13, 1994 to April 23, 1995)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), October 13, 1994 to January 15, 1995
  • The Cleveland Museum of Art (Cleveland), February 14 to April 23, 1995
Remembering Antiquity: The Ancient World Through Medieval Eyes (January 24 to May 28, 2017)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), January 24 to May 28, 2017
Bibliography