White lekythoi. The colour of mourning

Thanatos Pulse para ampliar Thanatos. Sala 35, vitrina 35.21

GreeceSalto de línea

For the Greeks, death was the final outcome of a lifetime. The funerary ritual and the greater or lesser wealth of the burials was also a sign of the social status of the deceased within the polis. In the cemetery, the body was buried or burned and the ashes were collected in an urn placed in the tomb. Later libations were made in honour of the gods of the dead and the deceased. A stela placed on steps marked the place of burial. Next to it, ribbons, garlands, crowns, clay eggs and pomegranates, symbols of immortality, and the beautiful white lemurs were deposited

These white-ground vases were the symbol of death for the Greeks. It was used to store the scented oils with which the corpse was purified, and after the funeral it was placed in the grave as a sign of respect. Perhaps fearing they would forget, they drew portraits of their loved ones on these vessels, to remember them as vibrant, living beings. In Greece, the colour of mourning was white, like these funerary vessels or the marble of their stelae and tombs. Grief was white and luminous, like the light the Greeks hoped their dead would find at the end of the dark, uncertain path they had to travel. They knew that a fearsome ferryman would accompany them to the other shore, but they did not know what awaited them there.

Pottery vases with various painted scenes were placed inside the tombs: Kraters showing a symposium or a warrior with his weapons in those of the men; bridal water hydriai that once held the water for ritual bridal bath for the women.