Ancient Greek Terracotta Lekythos


A delicate ancient Greek, terracotta vase known as a lekythos. The vessel features a rounded, oval body with small, flaring shoulders. These lead to an elongated, cylindrical neck that flares into a wide mouth with an everted rim. The body funnels into a short, stepped foot. A looped, flattened handle has been applied from the middle of the neck to just underneath the shoulders, joining the body. The vase is slightly decorated, with black glaze covering the rim, foot and handle. Solid bands at the top and base of the body create a border for a hatched pattern of thin lines. Vertical lines have been interspersed along the neck. The glaze has faded in time in places but the execution of the vase is still quite fine.

Date: Circa 4th - 3rd century BC
Condition: Fine condition. Some loss of glaze and fading. Some chips to the surface, consistent with age.


SKU: AH-1115 Category: Tags: ,

Lekythoi were used in Ancient Greece to preserve and pour perfumed oil and ointments: its particular shape limited the release of the content and was suitable to prevent waste. Lekythoi were mainly used at baths and gymnasiums and for funerary offerings, as they were sometimes used for anointing dead bodies. Whilst they could hold a range of perfumed oils and ointments, they were usually used to hold olive oil. They are characterised by their narrow bodies with thin necks, a single handle, and a flat rim without a pouring lip.

To find out more about different types of Greek vessel please see our relevant blog post: Collecting Greek Vases.

Weight 110 g
Dimensions L 4 x W 4.5 x H 12 cm

Pottery and Porcelain


Reference: For a similar item, please see The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, UK, item GR.57.1988

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