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Terracotta pyxis (cosmetic box)

Period:
Hellenistic
Date:
3rd–2nd century B.C.
Culture:
Greek, Macedonian
Medium:
Terracotta; west slope
Dimensions:
h. with lid 5 1/4 in. (13.4 cm); d. 5 15/16 in. (15.1 cm)
Classification:
Vases
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.

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