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Greek Attic Black-Glazed Lekythos

Ancient Greece, Athens (Attic), ca. late 6th to early 5th century BCE. A finely-modeled, wheel-thrown pottery lekythos - a vessel used to store scented oils or other perfumes - in black-figure. A lustrous jet-black glaze envelops the body from shoulder to foot, with unglazed, pale-orange pottery peeking through on areas of the neck, shoulder, and foot. The body exhibits a pair of dark-red reserve bands near the base and just below the shoulder. 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" W x 5.5" H (5.1 cm x 14 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: Handle and small areas of rim restored with small chips and overpainting along break lines. Portion of foot repaired with small chips along break line. Surface wear and abrasions commensurate with age as expected, small chips to rim, body, and foot, with some light discoloration, and a small area of encrustation to rim. Light earthen deposits throughout.

Provenance: private New York, New York, USA collection; ex-private Dr. Med. G.S. collection, Nuremberg, Germany, formed between 1958 and 2003; ex-private Hans Piehler (1847-1961) collection

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