White lekythos

White lekythoi were clay vessels used for the storage of aromatic oils. In this lekythos, a veiled female figure approaches a grave holding a basket filled with offerings. The scene is watched by a young man, probably the dead.

Lekythoi were produced in ceramic workshops located in the Kerameikos area, in Athens. For the potter to construct the lekythos, he first moulded the vessel on the wheel. The grip was constructed separately and later attached to the vessel. Following that, the potter coated the surface of the vessel with a very fine slip of white clay (kaolin) as a base for the painter to design the iconography. Firing was the last stage of construction.

Most contemporary ceramics are constructed on electric wheels and are decorated with glazed colours,  burned in kiln, glazed and fired for a second time. Today there are contemporary potters that continue to observe ancient techniques and incorporate them into their practice.

Time Period: 500 BCE – 1 CE
Size: H. 28.8 cm
Artist: Unknown
Material: Clay
Institution: Museum of Cycladic Art