The attention to detail is incredible, the crater has been carved in such a Fine way to reduce the thickness and therefore the weight of this masterpiece, whilst allowing it to display its full grandiose presence. The boldly shaped handles, carved from one with the crater, give the perfect strength to lift the top when full, are a master of powerful expression. A similar masked handle can be seen on the footed marble basin decorated with Seilenoi heads, 1st century BC, that is in The Israel Museum in Jerusalem.
The Seilenoi (or Sileni), as you know, were elderly rustic spirits (Daimones) in the train of the God Dionysus. They were sons of the first Seilenos and the fathers of the tribes of Satyrs and Oreiades (mountain nymphs). The Seilenoi were depicted as elderly, white-haired satyrs with assine ears and snub nose. The twelve male guardians of the infant Dionysus known as Pheres Lamioi, were Seilenoi. Dionysos (or Dionysos), as you know, was the great Olympian God of wine, vegetation, pleasure and festivity. The fact two Seilenoi heads sit at each side of the crater, further show the incredible thought that went into their design, protecting the wine of their God and the strong Greco Roman influence that this important piece displays.