Collection online

pyxis

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    1874,0512.1

  • Description

    Pottery: red-figured pyxis with lid, decorated with marriage preparations.
    (a) Toilet scene (?). The locality is indicated by a pair of folding doors, divided into panels by three horizontal bands with double rows of nails; in the upper panels are knocker and keyhole. In front of this, slightly to the left, two painted vases in the form of a lebes on a tall stand, which has a heart-shaped aperture in the upper part, and containing sprigs of myrtle (?), for sprinkling water (aspergilla), are placed together on a plinth. On the left stands a woman, Galene, in a long chiton with diplois, earrings, and a necklace, her hair knotted behind with a fillet, holding on both her forearms a square box decorated with two bands of black and zigzags. Over her is her name, ΓΑΛΕΝΕ, Γαλήνη. Beside her is a box or table on three legs terminating in lions' paws, on which stand a pyxis and an oinochoe with tall handle and neck (loutrophoros ?), also containing sprigs of laurel. On the left, on a diphros, a woman (Kymothea) is seated to the left in a mourning attitude; her legs are crossed, the left over the right, her head is bowed forward resting on her right hand; her right elbow and left fore-arm rest on her lap; she is dressed like the last figure, but has also a mantle around her lower limbs, sandals, and bracelets; over her is inscribed ΚΥΜΟΘΕΑ, Κυμοθέα. She seems to watch the action of a diminutive girl in a long undertied chiton, with long hair, who is occupied in tying the cord of her left sandal. Next is Kymodoke, in long chiton and mantle, necklace with pendant gilt bead, and hair looped up with a beaded fillet; above her, ΚΥΜΟΔΩKΕ, Κυμοδόκη. She holds in her left hand an alabastron of glass (indicated by zigzag lines of pattern around it), and with her right offers a square box to Thaleia, who is seated on the left in a chair confronting her, and holds out her right to receive it, her left resting on her lap; she is dressed as Kymothea, except that she has no sandals, and her long hair falls unconfined down her back, and forms in the drawing a background for her profile. Above her, ΘΑΛΕΙΑ, Θαλεια. Behind her stands Glauke, dressed as Galene, her hair knotted behind with a radiated fillet, holding up in both hands a string with pendant beads; above her, ΓΛΑΥΚΕ, Γλαύκη. The scene is closed on the left by a group of two women confronted. Doso, dressed exactly as Kymodoke, except that she wears a plain fillet wound thrice round her knotted hair, holds in her right, hanging in front of her, a flower with gilt centre; with her left she holds an edge of drapery at her side. Above her is inscribed; ΔΟΣΩ, Δώσω. She looks at Pontomedeia, who holds extended on her left thumb and right fore-finger a magic wheel fastened to a cord. She wears a Doric chiton schistos, of which the back part, instead of having its upper edge fastened on the shoulders, is fastened lower down, and the upper edge is passed over the back of the head; her hair falls loose like that of Thaleia, and she wears a necklace with pendant bead and bracelets. Above her is inscribed, ΠΟΝΤΟΜΕΔΕΙΑ, Ποντομεδεία. In the field, above Thaleia and Kymothea, hang two mirrors. The vases in this scene are decorated with figures in black silhouette. The subjects are difficult to determine; that on the right-hand lebes seems to be a bridal procession, representing a figure leading another by the hand, preceded by a figure holding two torches; on the stand perhaps a Maenad with thyrsos and a bearded satyr. The other lebes appears to have a scene like that of the pyxis itself, with a man and woman below. The loutrophoros has on the body two figures walking to right, one of them holding a torch (?), and on the neck a figure walking to right with a staff.
    (b) Around the knob on the lid, a frieze composed of two pairs of a lion and boar running towards each other.
    Very fine miniature drawing. Gilding is used for the jewellery, mirrors, pyxis, flower, studs, and the disk on the cord, also for the central dots of the chequers in the border. Purple inscriptions, tendril of flower, and aspergilla. Eye in profile. Below the design on the body a band of maeanders running alternately to right and left, separated by chequered squares with a central bead.

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  • Producer name

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 440BC-415BC
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Ware

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 11.4 centimetres
    • Diameter: 9.5 centimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

        inscription
  • Curator's comments

    BM Cat. Vases

    Dumont and Chaplain, pl. 9; Heydemann, Comment. Mommseni, p. 171; Kretschmer, Vaseninschr. p. 201, no. 13.
    The subject of (a) may have reference to the preparations for a wedding, to which the introduction of the loutrophoros, the aspergilla, and the subject, if rightly identified, of the right-hand lebes would be suitable. The names have no mythological significance (Nereids?) (cf. Frohner, van Branteghem Coll. no. 85; a similar scene on a skyphos in Naples Cat. 2296; and the names of some of the figures in Polygnotos' picture of the under-world). The figure of Kymothea resembles in some respects the type of Penelope (Ant. Denkm. i, pl. 31). For the motive of fastening the sandal, see Jahrbuch, ii, p. 173. For the magic wheel, see also Jahn in Ber. d. sachs. Gesellsch. 1854, p. 256.
    For the magic wheel, see BM Vase F223.

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  • Bibliography

    • Vase E774 bibliographic details
  • Location

    On display: G69/dc1

  • Subjects

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1874

  • Department

    Greek & Roman Antiquities

  • Registration number

    1874,0512.1

Pottery: red-figured pyxis decorated with marriage preparations: the daughters of Nereus are depicted indoors; on a low chest stand a loutrophoros (vessel for ceremonial bath water) and a pyxis; outside the door stand two lebetes gamikoi (marriage bowls) and to the right, a female figure holds a iunx (magic wheel).

Pottery: red-figured pyxis decorated with marriage preparations: the daughters of Nereus are depicted indoors; on a low chest stand a loutrophoros (vessel for ceremonial bath water) and a pyxis; outside the door stand two lebetes gamikoi (marriage bowls) and to the right, a female figure holds a iunx (magic wheel).

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