The Water Jug

A hydria is a kind of pottery of Greek origin used for carrying water. This unique type of water jar has a special bearing in the history and culture of the Greek. The heavy looking ware was classically made with a foot perfectly molded and the rims overhanging with a portrait of five heads of women. The jug has three handles both in the horizontal and the vertical directions. The two horizontal handles located on the opposite sides of the rounded body of the pot were rope-like and typically suited for carrying the pot. The other vertical handle made of chevron ornament was used for pouring water with its central location between the horizontal handles. Further towards the small neck was another portrait head of a female and two swans. In addition, there were winged lions on the shoulder and winged horses together with upper human body at the lower parts of the vessel.

The infamous water jug was largely produced by potters in Cheusi and Volterra during the period between 550-500 BC. This was properly impregnated with mould pressed beautifications, quite very distinct from the thin walled bucchero of the 7th Century. By this time, this water jug was available in two different figure techniques, the black and the red techniques. According to O. Brendel, these hydrae often had a historical depiction of scenes of the Greek mythologies relating to the moral and social norms. For instance, the black image hydrae depicted the heroes Achilles. However, as late as mid 5th Century BC artisans of Greek origin had already began creating the water jars from bronze. These were much more refined with more elaborate decorations of finely detailed images. The hydra manifests a typical slow motion that is characteristic of ballistic gelatin used in the Water Jug Expansion Tests. The hydra type of water jar is of great historical and academic significance in trying to comprehend the ancient Greek culture.

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