55. 93.106 WHITE LEKYTHOS Two women at the tomb PLATE XXVHeight, 0.327 m.; diameter, 0.101 m. Intact. Near the bottom at the back, a small hole. The outlines, the hair, and the subsidiary decoration drawn in thinned glaze, varying from black to brown. The mantle of the left-hand figure is red. The shoulder-pattern like fig. 34, save that the palmettes lack the leaves in dull paint. From Eretria, Ann. Rep. 1893, p. 14. Robinson, Catalogue of Vases, no. 449. Bosanquet, J.H.S. xix, 1899, p. 181, S. Fairbanks, Athenian White Lekythoi, i, p. 241, no. 68. Beazley, J.H.S. xxxiv, 1914, pp. 219-22, no. 16. V.A., p. 164. Riezler, p. 21, fig. 13. Beazley, Att. V., p. 377, no. 18. In the centre, a stele set on two steps and surmounted by a simple, flat crowning member. Two fillets, rendered in dull black paint, are tied about its shaft. A third fillet, drawn in outline, is placed on the lower step, its ends tied together so that it has the form of a wreath. Another, of similar design, is draped round the stele, with its ends hanging over the top step. At the left of the stele a woman stands in profile, holding a perfume vase, smegmatotheke, in her right hand. She is clothed in a sleeved chiton drawn in outline, and a red mantle. At the right, a woman in a diaphanous Doric peplos, with long overfold, holding out her hands. According to Robinson, the object in her hands is 'a red fillet almost effaced'; but no trace of this now remains. About 440 B.C. By the Achilles painter, like the preceding three lekythoi. The two fillets at the base of the stele1 are like three of those hanging from the basket on no. 54 (Boston 08.368). They resemble also the chaplets worn by several figures on the stamnoi, no. 38, no. 39 (Boston 01.8083, Boston 01.8082), and on the cup, no. 45 (Boston 01.8078). Evidently they were light in colour and of some fairly stiff material, since they keep a circular form when their ends are tied together. Beazley suggests that they may have been made of straw,2 a theory which is supported by the fact that bands are tied about them at intervals. A perfume vase like that held by the woman at the left of the stele recurs on the lekythoi, no. 56, Plate XXVI (Boston 93.104), and no. 60, Plate XXVIII (Boston 00.359), as well as on many other funerary lekythoi and on some red-figured vases with toilet and marriage scenes. The theory that these objects served as containers for perfume in liquid or semi-liquid form is probably correct.3 It has been disputed by Pernice, who connects them with vases of various other shapes, but all provided with incurved rims, and explains the whole series as censers.4 Burrows and Ure, who have examined the problem afresh, divide the extant examples into seven classes, but are unable to reach positive conclusions as to the use of any one of them.5 It seems certain that vessels with incurved rims were made for different uses: they may have been lamps, censers, holders of perfume, or of soap, or of paint;6 and, in spite of the objections raised by Pernice, those of class A may be identical with the kothons known from literary sources, which soldiers carried as drinking-cups on campaigns by land or sea.7 The vases listed by Burrows and Ure under class B (pottery) and class F (marble) are best explained as containers of perfume for use on ceremonial occasions. They begin towards the end of the sixth century and change gradually in shape; the earliest have a low, broad, flaring stem, the latest a tall, slender stem like those depicted on the lekythoi. Three of the marble examples are illustrated in figure 35, A-C.89
L. D. Caskey, BMFA 37 (1939), pp. 77, 79, fig. 11; ARV, p. 643, no. 134; Chase 1950, pp. 81, 83, fig. 92; ARV2, p. 998, no. 160; Chase & Vermeule 1963, pp. 120, 124, 130, fig. 108; MFA, Illustrated Handbook, 1964, pp. 72-73, illus.; Felten 1971, p. 23, note 63; B. S. Ridgway, 1972, Classical Sculpture (Rhode Island School of Design, Museum of Art), p. 35, note 4; MFA, Illustrated Handbook, 1976, pp. 104-105, illus.; Nakayama 1982, pp. 64, 69, 206-207 (no. A-IV-18), 261, pl. 9; Wehgartner 1983, p. 186, note 21.