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A man and woman holding staffs face each other and the woman presents some wheat.

The vessel is black with a tall wide spout and two handles that connect the body of the vessel to the neck. In red, there are two figures facing each other. They both hold staffs. The figure on the left appears to be a woman, she wears a crown and draping clothing, and a cloth draped over the back of her head. The figure on the right appears to be a man. He also wears draping robes and has a round object strapped to his back. The woman is handing some wheat to the man.

Identification and Creation

Object Number
Group of Polygnotos, Greek (450-430 BCE)
Nolan Amphora (storage jar): Demeter and Triptolemos; Pluton
Work Type
c. 450 BCE-440 BCE
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Europe, Athens (Attica)
Classical period, High
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

actual: 36.5 x 16.7 cm (14 3/8 x 6 9/16 in.)


Recorded Ownership History
V. Simkhovitch; Charles L. Morley to Frederick M. Watkins; Gift to the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, 1959.

State, Edition, Standard Reference Number

Standard Reference Number
Beazley Archive Database #213756

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Frederick M. Watkins
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art

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Red-figure Nolan amphora, minor restorations.

SIDE A: Demeter and Triptolemos. The goddess Demeter, left, wears a peplos, earrings, and a crown with a veil. With her right hand she proffers grain, which is added in red paint, to Triptolemos. She holds a scepter in her left hand. Triptolemos, right, wears a chlamys and a petasos. The hat hangs on the back of his neck by a cord added in red paint.

SIDE B: Plouton (Pluto). The god holds a large cornucopia, or horn of plenty. The presence of Plouton on this vase in connection with Demeter calls to mind Hades’ abduction of Persephone. Demeter’s meeting and encounter with Triptolemos occurred while she was searching for Persephone, which resulted in Triptolemos spreading the goddess’ gift of agriculture throughout the land. Plouton's cornucopia implicates his partial, indirect agency in the spread of agriculture in Greece.

Publication History

  • The Frederick M. Watkins Collection, exh. cat., Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1973), p. 63 no. 24.
  • David Gordon Mitten and Amy Brauer, Dialogue with Antiquity, The Curatorial Achievement of George M. A. Hanfmann, exh. cat., Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1982), p. 12, no. 23.
  • Betty Grossmann, The Apostle of Triptolemos, Philia epe eis Georgion E. Mylonan, E en Athenais Archaiologike Etairia (Athens, 1987), vol. 2, pp. 245-53, p. 247
  • Wolf Rudolph and Adriana Calinescu, ed., Ancient Art from the V. G. Simkhovitch Collection, exh. cat., Indiana University Art Museum (Bloomington, IN, 1988), p. 151, no. 141.
  • Kevin Clinton, The Iconography of the Eleusinian Mysteries (Stockholm, 1992), 201, Figs. 65-66 (a,b)
  • L.A. Beaumont, "Studies on the Iconography of Divine and Heroic Children in Attic Red-Figure Vase-painting of the Fifth Century B.C." (1993), pg. 166
  • Susan B. Matheson, The Mission of Triptolemus and the Politics of Athens, Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies (1994), no. 4, pg. 370
  • Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae (LIMC), Artemis (Zürich, Switzerland, 1999), Demeter (Vol. 4) 363; Hades 38; Triptolemos 9.
  • [Reproduction Only], Persephone (Spring 2001), Vol. 5, No. 2
  • Alan W. Johnston, Trademarks on Greek Vases: Addenda, Aris and Phillips (Warminster, England, 2006)

Exhibition History

  • The Frederick M. Watkins Collection, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 01/31/1973 - 03/14/1973
  • Dialogue with Antiquity: The Curatorial Achievement of George M.A. Hanfmann, Fogg Art Museum, 05/07/1982 - 06/26/1982
  • 32Q: 3400 Greek, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 01/24/2017 - 10/03/2023

Verification Level

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at