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The lekanis proper is a low, flattish dish with a cover.

Shape: The bowl of the lekanis proper has two wide ribbon-like handles set horizontally on the sides, and a cylindrical stem topped by a cover with a disc-like knob serving as a handle. The foot is a low base-ring.

History: Some shapes of bowls regularly had a lid which was made to fit. If the vessel is a type of dish with a shallow bowl, it was known as a lekane. If it was a dish with a shallow bowl and the rim of the bowl had a ledge to receive a lid, and there was a lid, it was called a lekanis. This vessel had an early history in Attic pottery; it was known in the Geometric period. The lekanis proper comes in during the second half of the sixth century and is especially popular in red-figure and the black painted pottery of the late fifth century. Vessels of this shape frequently appear as wedding gifts in scenes of bridal processions on red-figure vases.

Term: The Greek word lekanis was used to define one of the many and various bowls employed for different purposes by the Greeks.

  • Ancient sources cite the many uses for these dishes.
  • Photios: "the ancients called a podanipter (footbath) what we call the lekane, whereas they called lekanion and lekanis vessels with handles... for cooked food... and the like." He also states that the day after the wedding "fathers sent gifts to the brides- jewelry in boxes and girls' playthings in lekanides."
  • Lucian, Erotes 39: describes silver lekanides among the women's toilet vessels.

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