Middle Corinthian lekanis





Collection: Cambridge, Harvard University Art Museums
Summary: Friezes of animals and Mischwesen (monsters) inside, outside, and on lid.
Ware: Corinthian
Context: Greece
Date: ca. 600 BC - ca. 575 BC

H. 0.131 m.; H. with lid 0.197 m.; D. 0.235 m.

Primary Citation: Payne 1931, 312, no. 1015, pl. 28,9.
Shape: Stemmed bowl with lid
Ceramic Phase: Middle Corinthian
Region: Greece
Period: Archaic


Intact when found but lid broken in packing. Moderate abrasion of figures on outside of bowl; considerable wear on lid; moderate wear inside; glaze of inner figures less glossy.

Decoration Description:

Exterior of bowl: Running S's on side and top of rim and on side of foot. Zone of rays on lower body above the foot. Three broad black bands circle the stem of the foot. Around the center of the body is a frieze of animals and Mischwesen, framed by parallel stripes above and a band of dicing below. The front of the vase, if it can be said to have one, is indicated by a pair of sphinxes flanking a siren, all three wearing poloi. To the right of these are, in order, the following: lion, goat, lion, goat, panther, panther, swan, panther. As in all three animal friezes, there is extensive use of added red on the figures, and the background is densely filled with rosettes and other amorphous motifs.

Tondo: In the center is a circular whirl pattern framed by a band of dicing. Around this, framed by parallel stripes, is an animal frieze: lion, goat, panther, goat, lion. swan, lion, swan.

Lid: A band of rays circles the flattened rim. The animal frieze is framed by bands of dicing and parallel stripes: above the upper band, beneath the knob, is a band of simple tongues. The top of the knob is decorated with a large rosette framed by a red circle and a band of dicing. As on the bowl, the "front" of the lid is indicated by a symmetrical grouping of a siren flanked by sphinxes; when the lid was properly oriented, they would appear directly above their counterparts on the bowl. To the right of this group are, in order, the following: lion, panther, swan, goat, panther.

Shape Description:

A broad, rounded bowl with a thick, collar-like rim, broad flaring stem (hollow), and a collar-like foot. The lid is a low dome with a flattened rim and a mushroom-shaped knob. The shape is very rare: Payne lists only one other, found in Sicily (see parallels below). Payne notes that the stemmed bowl is an East Greek type, though these never have lids. Payne calls it a "stemmed lekanis," though lekanides and lekanai normally have handles; see Payne 1931, 297 and Amyx 1988, 466.

Material Description:

Pale reddish yellow clay.

Collection History:

Bequest of J. C. Hoppin. Bought in Athens in 1897.

Sources Used:

CVA, Hoppin-Gallatin.

Other Bibliography:

CVA, Hoppin-Gallatin, USA 1, 3-4, pl. 2.