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Photo by Peter Paul Geoffrion
Artist:Polygnotos , attributed , Greek (Athenian), active 450-425 BCE Title:Red-figure calyx krater Date:460 - 450 BCE Medium:Ceramic Culture: Greek, Athenian Dimensions:18 1/8 x 18 5/16 x 18 5/16 in. (46 x 46.5 x 46.5 cm) Credit Line:The Duke Classical Collection, gift of Dr. and Mrs. James H. Semans; the Thomas and Virginia B. Semans Teaching Collection Accession number:DCC1964.27 Label Copy: Large and elaborately decorated, this monumental krater was prized by its original owner; in antiquity the krater was broken and repaired with pitch and small lead clamps. The gods pictured here are associated with agriculture. Triptolemus, riding in a winged chariot, departs to teach mankind the secrets of grain cultivation. To the right stand Persephone and Demeter, whose myth of loss and return explains the change of the seasons. Hecate, a goddess associated with the underworld and transitions, stands behind the chariot. All of these figures were celebrated during the Eleusinian mysteries. This festival reenacted the abduction of Persephone by the god Hades, who took her to the underworld. Persephone’s mother, Demeter, in her sorrow, caused winter to fall over the earth while she searched out her daughter. In her journeys she encountered both Triptolemus and Hecate who each offered aid. After Persephone was allowed to return and spend half of the year with her mother, fertility was restored. The goddess Hecate accompanies Persephone in her annual journey from the underworld.

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