TITLE: Lekanis, associated with the Otcher group.
CULTURE: Greek, Attica.
PERIOD: Circa 400 B.C.
SIZE: Height 15.5 cm with 31 cm in length between the handles.
PRICE: 5.500 Euros.
PROVENANCE: From the collection of a well-known Barcelona jeweller, Octavio Sardà. Acquired between 1968 y 1979. Retains a certificate of authenticity with the date 14 May 1979.
CONSERVATION: Intact, Very slight imperfection in the glaze on one of the handles.
A Lekanis with a scene of the preparation for a wedding.
The pottery base with black glaze and red decorations is circular with two handles decorated with spiral frieze. The body is decorated with laurel wreathes and the interior has a black glaze of very high quality.
The lid has a conical circular form and shows a circular scene with two naked Eros in flight carrying baskets and ribbons, presents appropriate for the marriage rituals. They are between two seated women also holding baskets of gifts and nuptial ribbons as well as mirrors. The iconography is completed with simple floral decorations and on the rim that rests on the base of the recipient there is a geometric frieze.
The disc shape lid handle is decorated with circles and geometric band patterns, the black glaze combining with the red reserved zones to complete the aesthetic of the vessel viewed from above.
A Lekanis is a type of pottery from Ancient Greece. In the form of a low bowl with a disc foot and two horizontal handles on the rim. It is shaped to receive a lid, forming a continuous vertical surface with the rim of the lid. It was used to hold a range of small objects, also to contain ointments and for use in personal hygiene. They were used in the complicated marriage rituals and formed part of the dowry that the father gave to the bride.
There is a domestic version used to hold or present small servings of food. These are of a more simple form with decoration limited to simple horizontal lines.
Following on from earlier geometrical styled forms, in the second half of the 6th century B.C., the lekanis was formalized and became one of the frequent forms of red figure pottery. Pieces from the period of black figure pottery were usually made without lids, while red figure painted lekani are typically found with decorated lids. Over time, the lids, which were at first in a domed shape, tended to flatten out and form a right-angle with the vertical rim. The lids also acquired a top handle which, if it were sufficiently wide, could serve as a foot if the lid were inverted so that it, too, could be used as a container. In these reversible lekani the decoration was limited to animal themed friezes, as opposed to those habitually used with nuptial themes. The decorative images wound in continuous form around the vessel.
- Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum. CVA Project. Vase number. 230798 – 230816.