Dionysos, the god of wine, stands calmly in the midst of a group of dancing maenads and satyrs on this Athenian black-figure column-krater. Wearing a festive wreath of ivy leaves and holding his drinking horn, the god appears unaffected by the frenzy of his companions. Scenes with Dionysos were a favorite decoration for vessels like this column-krater, which would have been used at a symposion or drinking party to mix the wine with water.
On the other side of the vase, two lions ravage a bull. The motif of the lion attack was central to Greek art and literature from the 800s through the 500s B.C. and served as a metaphor for heroic or even divine triumph. It was referenced in a wide variety of contexts, from the epic poems of Homer, to the sculpture on monumental temples, to the decoration on vases made for private use, such as this one.
Plant motifs decorate the rim of the vessel. Ivy leaves cover the outer edge, and lotus buds encircle the top. The bearded heads on the handle-plates were a typical decoration for column-kraters.