'Hadra' Hydria used as a cinerary urn - 919x13.26_1


'Hadra' Hydria used as a cinerary urn

Maker: Attributed to the Painter of the Laurel Wreaths
Medium:Wheel-thrown earthenware, slip-painted
Geography: Made in Central Crete; found in Alexandria, Egypt
Date: about 240 BC
Period: Hellenistic Period
41.2 x 31.1 cm
Object number: 919X13.26
Credit Line: Gift of Sigmund Samuel
Not on view

Although this shape (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 vase does not have an inscription, nor does it still contain cremated remains. It was decorated with laurel spray, palmette and cross and circle motifs and was attributed to the "Peintre dew Couronnes de Laurier" by Enklaar.

Greek World
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