Friday, March 24, 2023
Panel leg with a costumed reveller named Samon, on a tripod exaleiptron, ca. 570–560/550 B.C., in Antikensammlung, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, inv. 3364, from Victoria Sabetai and Christina Avronidaki, "The Six's Technique in Boiotia: Regional Experiments in Technique and Iconography," Hesperia 87.2 (April-June 2018) 311-385 (at 314, figure 1:b, photograph by I. Luckert):
Samon (Fig. 1:b) is an enigmatic character, best regarded as a costumed performer.160 The figure combines the traits of a satyr and a komast, as attested by his hairy bodice with appended large genitalia and his human face without snub profile or equine ears.161 The kindred nature of the early satyr and the komast is iconographically confirmed in Boiotia by their simultaneous presence on two of the panel legs of a tripod exaleiptron in Athens, depicting a satyr exhibiting his phallus and a masturbating komast.162 Masturbating komasts are a feature of early Corinthian and Boiotian iconography, whereas satyrs engaged in this act are not as frequent in these fabrics.163 Moreover, Samon's stance, bent legs, and steatopygic buttocks are reminiscent of komast dancers, which are popular across all Archaic Greek fabrics.164 These figures occasionally display an obscene sexual behavior, especially in Boiotia. They are particularly preoccupied with their buttocks—exhibiting, touching, slapping, or offering them for penetration. Apparently, Samon is a masqueraded variant of the standard figure of the bottom-slapper.165Id. (at 364):
160. Hedreen 1992, p. 128.
161. Samon’s drooping phallus suggests that it is an accessory to his costume, as masturbating figures usually have an erect penis. For the phallus in the comic actor’s costume, see Foley 2000, esp. pp. 277, 281–282, 286, 289–291, 296–302.
162. Athens, National Archaeological Museum 938 (Kilinski 1990, p. 19, pl. 10:3; Isler-Kerényi 2004, p. 29, fig. 12). For ithyphallic proto-satyrs assimilated to grotesque dancers, see Isler-Kerényi 2004, pp. 7–18, 27–33; for performers dressed as silens and for hairy tailless creatures resembling satyrs, see Hedreen 1992, pp. 128–130.
163. Lindblom 2011, pp. 66–67, with previous bibliography.
164. Smith 2010, esp. pp. 150–175 (Boiotia), with previous bibliography.
165. For Boiotian bottom-slappers, see Smith 2010, pp. 165–167.
Bearded komast in the costume of a hairy ithyphallic creature holding his appended phallus or masturbating with his right hand and pushing a stick into his anus with the left; incised inscription: Samon.