The loutrophoros (pl. loutrophoroi) is an ovoid-bodied vessel with a tall neck and two or three handles (hence the terms loutrophoros-amphora and loutrophoros-hydria), used for carrying and storing water. Examples can be traced back to the eighth century. The use of the term 'loutrophoros' for vessels of this shape is modern; in antiquity it probably referred to the person responsible for carrying the water (Greek loutron - water for bathing, phero - to carry).
The illustrations on vases regularly suggest the settings in which the vessel was used - marriage and funerary rituals - and excavated examples, as well as images of the shape on other vases, support these contexts. Later in the fifth century, the shape was carved in marble for Athenian cemeteries.