Attic Geometric Pyxis with Lid
Lent by The Detroit Institute of Arts; Founders Society Purchase, Dr.
Lester Cameron Bequest Fund (65.82).
H. with lid 18.4 cm; H.
without lid 11.3 cm; W. 25.0 cm; D. of lid 18.0 cm; D. of mouth 15.8 cm; D. of
base 17.2 cm. Body and lid broken and repaired; some minor repair and
repainting. Torus body with flat lid (flat pyxis). The shape of the knob on the
lid is a somewhat smaller version of the pyxis itself, but on a stand and with a
conical lid. The edge of the lid and lip are pierced with four holes; the holes
The focus is a central
zone of large meander pattern with interior hatching; above this central motif a
fine band, first of zigzags, then of chevrons, each separated by three careful
lines in dilute; below the meanders two narrow bands, first one of zigzags, then
one of rays, again each differentiated by three fine lines in dilute glaze. This
same design of thin lines accentuates the mouth and the base, just over a thick
band at the base which gives weight and balance to the entire decoration of the
vase. The lid at the center has a wide band, a thin zone of zigzags, then one of
dots and, near the edge, a band of rays (pointing in); again each motif is
separated from the next by well-spaced triple lines (two lines on the edge
itself). The knob has banding on the cone, chevrons on the widest part, and
bands on the ribbed shaft. The bottom of the vase is reserved, the resting
surface, now worn, was glazed; the interior is reserved except for the sunken
lip which is glazed. The underside of the lid is reserved and has an "X"
graffito near one of the tie holes, at the edge.
The hatching in the meander-zone and other motives seem to have been
made with brushes which had multiple hairs, perhaps in one case with fourteen or
fifteen limbs and in another with nine. There are noticeable puddles of glaze at
the end of each stroke and, as Prof. Coldstream has said of the period (infra,
pp. 23-25), the outlines of the meander pattern are not consistently neat. Knobs
in the shape of a vase are a pleasing touch not infrequent in Greek ceramics,
some of the most elaborate of which are found in late Hellenistic pottery from
Centuripe (Sicily) and on South Italian bombylioi. As basic reference: Coldstream 1968, 23-25, pl. 4b
André Emmerich Gallery (New York, May 9-June 11,
1965) catalogue no. 115