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A trefoil oenochoe, wild-goat style, C. 625 BCE-600 BCE, in the Louvre
Bronze trefoil-mouthed oinochoe with Dionysus head on handle attachment, 330-320 BC, part of the Vassil Bojkov collection, Sofia, Bulgaria

An oenochoe, also spelled oinochoe (Ancient Greek: ?; from Ancient Greek: oînos, "wine" and Ancient Greek: khé?, "I pour"; plural oenochoai or oinochoai), is a wine jug and a key form of ancient Greek pottery. There are many different forms of oenochoe; Sir John Beazley distinguished ten types. The earliest is the olpe (?, olp?), with no distinct shoulder and usually a handle rising above the lip. The "type 8 oenochoe" is what one would call a mug, with no single pouring point and a slightly curved profile. The chous (?; pl. choes) was a squat rounded form, with trefoil mouth. Small examples with scenes of children, as in the example illustrated, were placed in the graves of children.[1]

Oenochoai may be decorated or undecorated.[2] Oenochoai typically have only one handle at the back and may include a trefoil mouth and pouring spout. Their size also varies considerably; most, at up to 25 cm tall, could be comfortably held and poured with one hand, but there are much larger examples.

Most Greek oenochoe were in painted terracotta pottery but metal oenochoai were probably also common among the better off, though as with other vessel shapes, few have survived.[3] Again as with other shapes, large versions in stone were sometimes used as grave markers, often carved with reliefs. In pottery, some oinochoai are "plastic", with the body formed as sculpture, usually one or more human heads.

See also


  1. ^ Beazley Archive, Oxford University, "Oinochoe, olpe and chous"
  2. ^ Woodford, S. (1986). An Introduction to Greek Art. London: Duckworth, p. 12. ISBN 0-7156-2095-9
  3. ^ Silver 'oinochoe' from the "Tomb of Philip" at Vergina, accessdate=2015-06-24

External links

  • Media related to Oinochoes at Wikimedia Commons

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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