Terracotta pyxis (box with lid)

Greek, Attic

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 151

This type of pyxis, a toilette box for personal objects and cosmetics, appeared in Athens around 850 BCE, based on influences from Mycenaean and Protogeometric pyxides and wooden boxes. It features a strongly curving body and a lid smaller in diameter than the box itself. The handle of the lid is surmounted by a small reproduction of the pyxis, including a sort of conical handle often found on vessels of this type.

Geometric pyxides were deposited as gifts in sanctuaries and especially in tombs. Ancient repairs on many of these vessels indicate their use during an owner's lifetime. A similar but much smaller pyxis with traces of a white substance inside, perhaps a cosmetic, was discovered in a wealthy woman’s grave at Eleusis in Attica.

Terracotta pyxis (box with lid), Terracotta, Greek, Attic

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