'Hadra' Hydria originally used as a cinerary urn - ROM2018_16917_180


'Hadra' Hydria originally used as a cinerary urn

Medium:Wheel-thrown earthenware, slip-painted
Geography: Made in Central Crete; found in Alexandria, Egypt
Date: about 235-220 BC
Period: Hellenistic period
39.3 x 3 x 22.5 cm
Object number: 919X13.27
Credit Line: Gift of Sigmund Samuel
On view
Gallery Location:Gallery of Greece

Although this shape (a hydria), was originally used as a water-jar, in the Hellenistic period a particular group of painted hydriai were used as containers for cremated remains. They have been named ‘Hadra’ hydriai after the cemetery in Alexandria where many of them were first discovered, although they have since been found in the other cemeteries of Alexandria and in small quantities in cemeteries in Athens, Eretria, Thera, Rhodes, Cyprus and Ukraine. Clay analysis has shown that these vases were generally made in Central Crete, where they have also been found in domestic contexts.  In Alexandria these vases sometimes have an inscription scratched onto the vase or written in ink, which includes the name, rank, and origin of the dead person, and the date of burial. As well as helping date the vase, these inscriptions indicate that the people buried in this manner were Greek ambassadors or mercenaries who received state funerals.

This particular hydria is decorated with a laurel wreath on the neck and scrollwork with palmettes on the body. It does not have an inscription, nor does it still contain cremated remains. 

Greek WorldEgypt
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