The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of July 21, 2024

Vessel Ornament of Banqueter Holding an Omphalos

Vessel Ornament of Banqueter Holding an Omphalos

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

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.
  • ?-1908
    Collection of the Marchese di Riofreddo e Gagliardi
    William R. Hearst, sold to Brummer Gallery
    Brummer Gallery, New York, NY, sold to H.K. Montif
    H.K. Montif
    Ella Bache Brummer Collection, New York, NY, gifted to the Cleveland Museum of Art
    The Cleveland Museum of Art
  • Casa di Vendite Jandolo et Tavazzi (Rom). Catalogo delle pregevoli collezioni di oggetti d'arte e mobili antichi, spettanti al Signor Marchese di Rioffreddo ed ai Signori Gagliardi di Firenze. [1], [1]. 1908. No. 517
    The Brummer Gallery Records. Cloisters (Museum), n.d. N5415
    Galerie Koller Zürich. The Ernest Brummer Collection, Vol I: Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque Art. 1979. No. 547E, cat: 95-97
    GALERIE SPINK (Zurich). The Ernest Brummer Collection: Galerie Spink, Zürich. London: Spink and Son, 1979. p. 25
    Turner, Evan H. "The Year in Review for 1987." The Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art 75, no. 2 (1988): 30-71. p. 65, no. 11
  • The Year in Review for 1987. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH (organizer) (February 24-April 17, 1988).
  • {{cite web|title=Vessel Ornament of Banqueter Holding an Omphalos|url=false|author=|year=probably 400–375 BCE|access-date=21 July 2024|publisher=Cleveland Museum of Art}}

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