Pyxis with lid

Pyxides were clay vessels with a lid and were used for placing and safekeeping women’s jewellery and cosmetics. Most probably, the horses on the lid symbolize the privileged class of knights. This pyxis with four horses on the lid belonged to a man and was considered a luxurious grave offering. The owner of the pyxis was a privileged and wealthy man, who most probably belonged to the class of the aristocrats.

This pyxis represents the social hierarchy of the time.  It is important to stress that this pyxis would never be owned by poor people or people who were not aristocrats so the pyxis is a sign of social inequality which was of course the norm at that time.

The creator of the pyxis was a skilled potter who owned an important pottery workshop in Athens. He belonged to the social class of merchants and artisans. His name is unknown. Over time, the merchants started questioning the power of the aristocrats. One would say that the middle class, as we know it today, emerged from the merchants and artisans.

Time Period: 1000 – 500 BCE
Size: H. 26.5 cm x D. 32,5 cm
Artist: Unknown
Material: Clay
Institution: Museum of Cycladic Art