World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Article Id: WHEBN0027559474
Reproduction Date:

Title: Kernos  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Kyathos, Goltyr Painter, Azoria, Onesimos (vase painter), Lion Painter
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Terracotta kernos from the Cycladic period (ca. 2000 BC), found at Melos
In this votive plaque depicting elements of the Eleusinian Mysteries, a female figure (top center of rectangular portion) wears a kernos on her head

In the typology of ancient Greek pottery, the kernos (Greek κέρνος or κέρχνος, plural kernoi) is a pottery ring or stone tray to which are attached several small vessels for holding offerings. Its unusual design is described in literary sources, which also list the ritual ingredients it might contain.[1] The kernos was used primarily in the cults of Demeter and Kore, and of Cybele and Attis.[2]

The Greek term is sometimes applied to similar compound vessels from other cultures found in the Mediterranean, the Levant, Mesopotamia, and South Asia.[3]

Literary description

Athenaeus preserves an ancient description of the kernos as

The kernos was carried in procession at the Eleusinian Mysteries atop the head of a priestess, as can be found depicted in art. A lamp was sometimes placed in the middle of a stationary kernos.[5]


  1. ^ Jacquelyn Collins-Clinton, A Late Antique Shrine of Liber Pater at Cosa (Brill, 1976), pp. 29 –30 online.
  2. ^ Phillippe Borgeaud, Mother of the Gods: From Cybele to the Virgin Mary (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996, English translation 2004), .passim
  3. ^ Excavations at Mohenjo Daro, Pakistan: The Pottery (University of Pennsylvania Museum, 1986), p. 226 online.
  4. ^ Athenaeus 11.478c = Polemon, frg. 88 Preller; English translation from Homer A. Thompson, Hellenistic Pottery and Terracottas (American School of Classical Studies at Athens, 1987), p. 448 online.
  5. ^ The verb kernophorein means "to bear the kernos"; the noun for this is kernophoria; Stephanos Xanthoudides, "Cretan Kernoi," Annual of the British School at Athens 12 (1906), p. 9.
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.