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Greek Attic Black-Glazed Lekythos

Ancient Greece, Athens (Attic), ca. 5th century BCE. A well-modeled, wheel-thrown pottery lekythos - a vessel used to hold perfumes or other scented oils - in black figure. A lustrous black glaze envelops the body from shoulder to foot, with areas of unglazed, pale-orange pottery peeking through. The shoulder is decorated with repeating frets and small hash mark motifs, its planar form gradually tapering to a narrow neck and a flared rim. A petite applied strap handle in black arches gracefully above the shoulder, and the entire vessel rests atop a small tiered foot. Size: 2.25" W x 5.375" H (5.7 cm x 13.7 cm).

Lekythoi were used for storing oil used for a wide variety of purposes in the Classical World. While larger examples were usually designated for keeping olive oil, smaller more delicate examples like this one were reserved for the bath to store precious unguents of sweet and floral aromas. This beautiful vessel was most likely created for an elegant lady's toilette.

Condition: Repair to bottom portion of handle, restoration to handle arch, and neck reattached with some resurfacing and overpainting along break lines. Surface wear and abrasions commensurate with age, small nicks to body and shoulder, with some fading to pigmentation, otherwise excellent. Light earthen deposits to lower portion of body.

Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection

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