Vessel Ornament of Banqueter Holding an Omphalos

probably 400–375 BCE
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Overall: 2 cm (13/16 in.)
Location: not on view
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Did You Know?

Though primarily associated with dedicatory libations, the phiale mesomphalos could also be used for drinking.


This bronze banqueter figurine was one of six once adorning the rim of a large basin, now lost. Cast in molds with individualized details, most have grooves on their underside to attach to the basin. Minute traces of gilding remain on areas of clothing and skin (mostly visible only under magnification), suggesting that they may have been completely gilded. Two handles in the form of hippocampi, horses with serpentine tails, also belonged to the basin and are now displayed at the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University. The basin may have been used to hold liquid for a banquet, or was perhaps funerary.

This bronze figurine holds a phiale mesomphalos, a shallow wine bowl, in his right hand. The vessel is tilted upward as if to spill its contents, perhaps as a libation for the gods. Traces of gilding remain in the corners of the phiale mesomphalos and the figurine’s drapery. His left hand rests against a fold of cloth slipping over his shoulder. A garland lies on his bare chest and another crowns his head. The banqueter shares many similarities with 1987.158.
Vessel Ornament of Banqueter Holding an Omphalos

Vessel Ornament of Banqueter Holding an Omphalos

probably 400–375 BCE


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