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Gift of David Collins

Greek, Corinth, 600 - 575 B.C.
3 1/16 in.

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Pomegranates with their many seeds and blood-red juice were a symbol of life and fertility for the Greeks. Closely connected with Persephone, the goddess of the Underworld, pomegranates were also considered appropriate gifts for the dead, perhaps signifying a new life for the deceased. Embellished with black-figure decoration, this vase reproduces the slightly lobed shape of the fruit.

Plastic vases, vessels made in the form of a human, animal, or mythological being, were popular in the Greek world from about 650 to 550 B.C. The main production centers were Rhodes off the coast of Asia Minor and Corinth on the Greek mainland, but the vases were widely distributed and imitated by other cities. The vases held perfumed oil, and the vessels' narrow openings were designed to conserve this precious commodity.