Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Terracotta pyxis (cosmetic box)

3rd–2nd century B.C.
Greek, Macedonian
Terracotta; west slope
h. with lid 5 1/4 in. (13.4 cm); d. 5 15/16 in. (15.1 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Madame Politis, in memory of her husband, Athanase G. Politis, Ambassador of Greece to the United States, 1979
Accession Number:
1979.76a, b
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 171
on the lid, a relief of Dionysos with maeanads

This fine pyxis is decorated in the so-called "West-Slope" technique, named after the site on the Acropolis hill in Athens where pottery of this type was first identified. Distinguishing hallmarks of the technique are the use of incision, added white, and decoration with a dilute slip that produced a superposed red, pink, or orange color on top of the black-glaze ground. Other notable features of this pyxis are the sculpted feet in the shape of lion's paws, and the relief medallion on the lid. These plastic details suggest that this pyxis was made in Macedonia, since other vessels with similar motifs have been found in tombs from this region. In addition to the crisply incised design on the body, the sculptured additions recall metallic prototypes that reflect the Macedonian taste for luxury items in gold and silver.
Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1979. "One Hundred Ninth Annual Report of the Trustees for the Fiscal Year July 1, 1978 through June 30, 1979." Annual Report of the Trustees of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 109: p. 34.

von Bothmer, Dietrich and Joan R. Mertens. 1982. The Search for Alexander: Supplement to the Catalogue. no. S54, p. 16, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Related Objects

Terracotta pyxis (box)

Date: ca. 465–460 B.C. Medium: Terracotta Accession: 07.286.36a, b On view in:Gallery 157

Terracotta cosmetic vase

Date: 4th quarter of the 6th century B.C. Medium: Terracotta Accession: 1977.11.3 On view in:Gallery 152

Terracotta askos in the form of a boar

Date: 4th century B.C. Medium: Terracotta Accession: 41.162.46 On view in:Gallery 161

Terracotta neck-amphora (jar)

Date: ca. 540–530 B.C. Medium: Terracotta Accession: 2010.147 On view in:Gallery 155

Terracotta alabastron (perfume vase) in the form of a woman holding a dove

Date: mid-6th century B.C. Medium: Terracotta Accession: 30.11.6 On view in:Gallery 152