Horse head amphora

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Decor of a horse head amphora in the State Collections of Antiquities in Munich , Inv. 1362 to 550 BC Chr.

A group of abdominal amphorae is known as a horse head amphora . Were produced in Athens . This is to bulbous vessels on both sides black- horse protomes in recessed rectangular frames show. In one single case, a woman's head can be seen on one side. In contrast to other early abdominal amphorae , the painters here dispensed with a neck frieze. There are over 100 known amphorae painted by different artists, including less talented painters.

These amphorae had a very specific function, which has not yet been clarified. Some researchers assumed that these were grave vases, but their use as tombs is in no way certain. If this interpretation is correct, one must see in the horses the Hades horses or the horses of Poseidon , if one accepts Poseidon in his function as god of the underworld. Another possibility is that the vases served as a victory prize. According to Erika Simon , it is also possible that the horse head amphorae were consecrated objects of the Attic equestrian nobility. The horse's head could therefore have served as a status symbol. According to John D. Beazley , these vases did not even belong to the repertoire of Athenian artists for half a century. A stylistic development cannot be determined. It is possible that these amphorae were the forerunners of the Panathenaic price amphorae .

Various painters of horse head amphorae have been named with names derived from them, such as the painter of the Aachen horse head or the Tokyo Horse Head Group .


  • John D. Beazley : Attic Black-Figure Vase-Painters. Clarendon Press, Oxford 1956, pp. 15-17.
  • Maria G. Picozzi: Anfore attiche a protome equina (= Seminario di Archeologia e Storia dell'Arte Greca e Romana della Università di Roma. Studi Miscellanei 18). De Luca, Rome 1971.
  • Ann Birchall: Attic Horse Head Amphorae. In: Journal of Hellenic Studies 92, 1972, pp. 46-63.
  • Ernst Berger , Reinhard Lullies : Early clay sarcophagi and vases. Catalog and individual representations (= ancient works of art from the Ludwig Collection. Vol. 1 = Publications of the Antikenmuseum Basel. Vol. 4). von Zabern et al., Mainz et al. 1979, ISBN 3-8053-0439-0 , pp. 45-46.
  • John Boardman : Black-Figure Vases from Athens. A manual (= cultural history of the ancient world . Volume 1). 4th edition. von Zabern, Mainz 1994, ISBN 3-8053-0233-9 , p. 18.
  • Bettina Kreuzer : Investigations into the Attic “horse head amphoras”. In: Bulletin antieke beschaving 73, 1998, pp. 95-114.
  • Heide Mommsen : horse head amphoras. In: The New Pauly (DNP). Volume 9, Metzler, Stuttgart 2000, ISBN 3-476-01479-7 , column 703.

Web links

Commons : Horse Head Amphorae  - Collection of Images, Videos, and Audio Files