Greek amphora dating
century BC, shows the loutrophoros’ use as part of a wedding, as opposed to a funeral.
This particular vessel can be found at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and it depicts a bridal procession.
On the other side, a young man is seen shaking hands with an older man, presumably the father of the bride.
They shake hands in agreement concerning the engagement.
These women are shown with short hair and hands held high signifying the pulling out of their own hair in grief.
Their open mouths match those of the mourning men on the reverse showing that they are all singing funeral songs.
Behind the bride, fixing her veil, stands a nympherutria, the supervisor of a wedding.
In the doorway of the home stands the groom’s mother holding two torches, and other female figures fill out the scene.
Two erotes (winged gods associated with Aphrodite and Eros) fly overhead.It is the presence of these scenes of mourning, along with the lack of a bottom, that lead scholars to believe that this loutrophoros was used as a grave maker.The vessel would have been made without a bottom so that onlookers and mourners could pour libations into the vessel and they would eventually reach the deceased.It was also used in funerary rituals and as place markers for the graves of the unwed.Examples of this vessel, either as artifacts themselves or examples in art, date back as early as the 8 From the surviving literary record, it can be concluded that, in the classical period, the term “loutrophoros” referred to a person who carried the water for a ritual bath, especially for a bride or groom before their wedding.
The art found on these examples show the two distinct uses of the loutrophoroi.