CULTURE: Greek, Attica
PERIOD: 5th Century BC
SIZE: Height 20.4 cm
PRICE: 2,500 euros
PROVENANCE: Private collection D.D., London, formed between 1975 and 1980.
CONDITION: In a good state of preservation with a general loss of the glaze.
A classical form Lekythos with a pyriform body sitting on a disk-shaped base with a strap handle, long neck and trumpet-shaped lip with black-figured decoration over a light clay. The body of the vessel is totally covered in black while the only decorations are the palmette motifs on the shoulder.
A lekythos is a type of Greek pottery used to store perfumed oil to be used to anoint the body. This sort of vessel was also used for funerary purposes. It is characterized by its elongated form, narrow neck and wide mouth which facilitates application of the oil while controlling the flow.
The technique of black-figure painting was based on the use of a transparent slip which, on firing, acquired an intense brilliant black tone. As the motifs were not visible before the firing, the painters had to work completely from memory without seeing their earlier work. When the piece was fired the zones not covered by the glossy slip maintained the reddish tone of the clay vessel while the glazed, "painted" areas took on a dense and brilliant black tone. The black-figure technique was introduced into Corinth around 700 B.C. and was adopted by Attic artists in the orientalizing period (725-625 B.C.). At that time the great series of black-figure vase painting began which had its main centre in Athens and continued until the beginning of the 5th Century B.C.