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A figures offers a large object to another, while a third figure looks on.

The vessel is black with a tall neck and wide spout and two handles on the body of the vessel. In red, three figures in draping clothing face each other and seem to converse. The farthest left figure holds their arms close to their body and is turning toward the other figures, the central of which seems to be offering a large object decorated with zig zag shapes to the figure on the far right, who holds their arm up in response. There are floral motifs along the upper rim of the vessel and bordering the scene.

Gallery Text

This water jar speaks to its own function: it illustrates the role of water jars in funerary ritual, which included use as ash urns. Three female mourners tear at their short-cropped hair and carry a basket with small lekythoi — oil flasks of the type seen on the left — and branches and ribbons to decorate a body or tomb. In ancient Greece, lamenting the dead was a woman’s task and even a profession. This vessel was reportedly found in a grave in Attica; the restoration does not hide its breaks and losses, which may have occurred when it was deposited as a tomb offering or smashed on a pyre.

Identification and Creation

Object Number
The Painter of the Berlin Hydria, Greek
Hydria (water jar): Mourning Women
Other Titles
Alternate Title: Red-figure Hydria (Kalpis): Three Mourning Women
Work Type
c. 460-450 BCE
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Europe, Vari (Attica)
Classical period, Early
Persistent Link


Level 3, Room 3410, South Arcade
View this object's location on our interactive map

Physical Descriptions

39.9 cm h x 30.8 cm diam. (15 11/16 x 11 15/16 in.)


Recorded Ownership History
David M. Robinson, Baltimore, MD, (by 1937-1958), bequest; to Fogg Art Museum, 1960.

State, Edition, Standard Reference Number

Standard Reference Number
Beazley Archive Database #207134

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Bequest of David M. Robinson
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art

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Funerary scene with three women and a hydria. One carries a tray of lekythoi.

Exhibition History

  • The David Moore Robinson Bequest of Classical Art and Antiquities: A Special Exhibition, Fogg Art Museum, 05/01/1961 - 09/20/1961
  • Pandora's Box: Women in Classical Greece, The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, 11/05/1995 - 01/07/1996; Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, 02/04/1996 - 03/31/1996; Antikenmuseum und Sammlung Ludwig, Basel, 04/28/1996 - 06/23/1996
  • HAA132e The Ideal of the Everyday in Greek Art (S427) Spring 2012, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 01/31/2012 - 05/12/2012
  • 32Q: 3410 South Arcade, Harvard Art Museums, 11/16/2014 - 01/01/2050

Subjects and Contexts

  • Google Art Project

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