An Attic black-figure neck amphora
Lot 192
An Attic black-figure neck amphora
Sold for £40,800 (US$ 68,253) inc. premium
Auction Details
An Attic black-figure neck amphora
Lot Details
An Attic black-figure neck amphora
Circa 510-500 B.C.
Showing on side (a) Medea boiling the ram, with a cauldron in the centre set on a tripod over a fire, with Medea to the right, facing inwards, wearing a patterned peplos, Pelias seated behind her swathed in a himation and holding a staff in his right hand, his two daughters standing on the left both wearing patterned peploi, looking into the cauldron, one gesticulating with arm raised; on side (b) Hercules wrestling the Nemean lion, wearing a short tunic, his scabbard extended behind him, flanked by Athena in a crested helmet on the right, facing right with her head turned inwards, wearing a long peplos draped with a himation, holding a spear and shield, Iolaus on the left, facing inwards, wearing a short tunic and holding a club in his right hand, his scabbard behind him, a band of meander along the baseline, linked lotus buds below and rays emanating from the base, with linked palmettes around the neck and tongues on the shoulder, palmettes and lotus buds below the triple reeded handles, 12¼in (31.2cm) high, some repair and restoration


  • Provenance:
    Ex private French family collection, formed between 1930 and 1960. Acquired by the current private French owner from the family in 1978. Accompanied by a French passport.

    Jason returned to Iolkos with the Golden Fleece to discover that his uncle Pelias had usurped his father Aeson's throne. Jason appealed to his wife Medea for revenge. Medea promised Pelias's daughters that she would rejuvenate their aged father and to demonstrate her sorcery she chops up an old ram and boils it in a cauldron with magical herbs. A young ram emerges and the daughters are convinced to proceed with chopping their father into pieces in the same way. However, Medea withholds her magical herbs, thereby preventing Pelias's rejuvenation.

    For a similar example by the Leagros Group showing the daughters of Pelias on a neck amphora in the Sackler Museum, Harvard University, cf. no.4 in Simon, 'Peliades' in LIMC. For a Leagros Group hydria also with the Peliades in the British Museum, cf. no.11 in Simon, 'Peliades' in LIMC.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note that this lot is accompanied by a thermoluminescence test dating it to between 1900 and 3000 years old,