Drawing of loutrophorosThe 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.

Athenian black-figure loutrophoros (restored)
  • Athenian black-figure loutrophoros (restored) ht. 40cm. approx
Athenian red-figure loutrophoros
  • Athenian red-figure loutrophoros ht. 26cm.
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