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Tour: Animal-Shaped Vessels from the Ancient World: Feasting with Gods, Heroes, and Kings

Rhyton forepart in the form of a centaur, Hellenistic, c. 160 BCE. Silver, partially gilded. From Falerii Novi (Civita Castellana, Italy). Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, VIIa 49. © KHM-Museumsverband.


Harvard Art Museums, 32 Quincy Street
Cambridge MA

Join us for an in-depth tour of our special exhibition Animal-Shaped Vessels from the Ancient World: Feasting with Gods, Heroes, and Kings, on view from September 7, 2018 through January 6, 2019. Tours will be given by curators, graduate students, and other experts.

This tour will end with an optional close-up encounter with objects related to the Animal-Shaped Vessels exhibition in the museums’ Art Study Center. Please be prepared to present a photo ID. Children age 14 and older are welcome but must be accompanied by an adult.

Animal-Shaped Vessels from the Ancient World brings together nearly 60 elaborate vessels of animal shape from collections in the United States and Europe. While the songs, speeches, and prayers that enlivened ancient feasts are now largely lost to us, these vessels have survived, offering a glimpse into the rich symbolism and communal practices that found expression at these gatherings. Taking animal-shaped vessels as performative props in the multifaceted world of feasting, the exhibition not only introduces the social and ceremonial functions of these ritual occasions, but also highlights the essential and universal role played by food and drink—and by the highly imaginative containers used to consume them.

Exhibition tours will be offered on select Wednesdays at 3:30pm and select Saturdays at 10:30am, during free admission hours supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

This tour is limited to 15 people and tickets are required. Ten minutes before the tour, tickets will become available at the admissions desk.

Please meet in the Calderwood Courtyard, in front of the digital screens between the shop and the admissions desk. Museums staff will be on hand to collect tickets.

Crucial support for the Animal-Shaped Vessels exhibition has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the Human Endeavor. In addition, the Harvard Art Museums are deeply grateful to the anonymous donor of a gift in memory of Melvin R. Seiden and to Malcolm H. Wiener (Harvard A.B. ’57, J.D. ’63) and Michael and Helen Lehmann for enabling us to mount this exhibition and to pursue the related research. This work was also made possible in part by the David M. Robinson Fund; the Andrew W. Mellon Publication Funds, including the Henry P. McIlhenny Fund; and the M. Victor Leventritt Fund, which brings outstanding scholars of the history and theory of art to the Harvard and Greater Boston communities through the generosity of the wife, children, and friends of the late M. Victor Leventritt, Harvard Class of 1935.