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Wednesday, May 20, 2020

The kline as platform for the nuptial banquet

Sculpture of a nuptial banquet, Greek, 3rd-2nd century BCE at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

"A nuptial banquet takes place on a lavishly decorated and furnished couch (kline). The man reclining at the far right raises a wine jug, while the female, seated at the front edge of the couch, once played a lyre. Two child Erotes join the young couple and all participants are crowned with ivy leaves and wreaths. Exceptional for its three-dimensionality, ornate style and preservation of polychromy, this group visualizes the semantic overlap in Greek thought and art between the bridal and the death kline and the role of lyre music as expression of marital love."  - The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The couch, or kline, was a form used in Greece as early as the late seventh century B.C.E.  Three types are distinguished by G.M.A. Richter – those with animal legs, those with “turned” legs, and those with “rectangular” legs,  two of which could be longer than the other, providing support for an armrest or headboard.  Coverings and accessories would have been made of leather, wool, or linen, though silk could also have been used. Stuffing for pillows, cushions, and beds could have been made of wool, feathers, leaves, or hay.


Image: Sculpture of a nuptial banquet, Greek, 3rd-2nd century BCE at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Image courtesy of the museum.

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