Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Terracotta lekythos (oil flask)

Attributed to the Painter of the Yale Lekythos
ca. 470–460 B.C.
Greek, Attic
Terracotta; red-figure, white-ground
H. 5 1/2 in. (14 cm); diameter 2 5/8 in. (6.7 cm); H. as restored 6 7/8 in. (17.5 cm)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1907
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 156
Young warrior cutting his hair with sword

There were several important ceremonies in which it was customary for boys and girls to sacrifice a lock of their hair, but this image of a young warrior cutting his hair before battle may reflect instead a scene in The Seven against Thebes, a tragedy by Aeschylus produced in Athens about 470 B.C. The seven heroes knew that only one of them would survive battle. Each cut a lock of his hair and tied it to the chariot that would carry home the survivor. This lekythos was probably made as a tomb gift. It may represent one of the seven heroes, or it may reflect the heroic death of an Athenian youth.
Richter, Gisela M. A. 1953. Handbook of the Greek Collection. p. 88, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

Beazley, John D. 1963[1942]. Attic Red-figure Vase-painters, Vols. 1 and 2, 2nd ed. p. 660, no. 71, Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Kossatz-Deissmann, Anneliese, Brigitte Servais-Soyez, Fulvio Canciani, Giovannangelo Camporeale, Hans Peter Isler, Ingrid Krauskopf, Odette Touchefeu-Meynier, Marcel Le Glay, and Dr. Jean-Charles Balty. 1994. Oidipous-Theseus, Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae, Vol. 7. Parthenopaios, no. 12; Septem, no. 31, Zürich: Artemis Verlag Zurich und Munchen.

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