Oil Flasks

Tall body, a offset neck with a heavy mouth, a vertical handle on back and a heavy stand. It was used to store the perfume oil and the word "Lekythos" was used not only for the shape, but also for the aryballos or alabastron.

Lekythos was produced from the beginning of the black-figure, though there are some shapes, such as a one with round body, or vase called "Deianira Lekythos", which has a long oval body. In the late sixth century, lekythos with offset shoulder was introduced, in which there are two varieties "standard" and "secondary". In the first half of the fifth, "Squat lekythos" with heavy body and "acorn lekythos" with a relief ornament like a upper part of a acorn.

Deianira Lekythos

Tall oval body with a cup-shaped thick mouth, a heavy stand and a vertical handle. This shape was produced from the beginning of the black-figure to the middle of the sixth century. Cf. Tampa 86.15 (Perseus Project).

The figured scene is arranged on the body and sometimes on the shoulder too.

Dimensions: height about 20cm

Standard Lekythos

Tall cylindrical body with a offset shoulder, a tall neck with heavy mouth, a vertical handle and heavy stand and the diameter is largest on the body. Cf. Rhode 22.216 (Perseus Project).

This shape was introduced about the late sixth century and white ground lekythos used as a offering was produced since the second quarter of the fifth century, though disappeared in the early fourth.

Figured scene is arranged on the body and rarely on the shoulder, where usually a five-palmette pattern is preferred.

Most of the white ground lekythoi have a scene connected with a funeral. The form became slender in later period with a tall neck and some examples have a second vase inside the body to save oil.

Dimensions: height about 30cm, though in the age of the red-figure many lekythoi under 20cm high were also produced. In the end of the fifth century, white ground lekythoi over 1m high were made.

Secondary Lekythos

The form is similar to the standard shape, though this is usually small and the largest diameter is on the shoulder.

This shape was introduced about the second quarter of the fifth century and favoured in the middle of the century, though disappeared soon. Most of these have white ground.

The subject is same as the standard shape, although the picture is worse than that. Cf. Rhode 06.050 (Perseus Project).

Dimensions: height about 20cm

Squat Lekythos

Round squat body and offset neck with a heavy mouth and a handle. This shape was introduced in the first half of the fifth century and favoured later.

Figured scene is arranged on the body and some later example have a flourished ornament on back. The form became slender in later phase. Cf. Erlangen (Antikensammlung Erlangen Internet Archive).

Dimensions: height about 20cm, though there are many examples under 10cm.

Acorn Lekythos

Tall slightly squat body with a relief dot ornament on the lower part, which remind us a acorn, tall neck with heavy mouth, a vertical handle and a heavy stand. This shape is rare and produced only in the late fifth century. Cf. Boston 95.1402 (Perseus Project).

The way of decoration is similar to the other lekythos, though the relief part is reserved the clay-surface.

Dimensions: height about 20cm


Round body with a disk-shaped mouth and one or two handle, former has its origin in Corinthian shape and older than latter. The name "Aryballos" was probably used for the shape. This vase seems to be used by men, while "Alabastron" by women. In the vase-painting, it is depicted in palaestra scene sometimes with a figure scratching off his sweat with oil by Strigil. Cf. Paris, Louvre CA2183 (Perseus Project).

There are some examples in the shape of human head. The figured scene is simple and applied on the body.

Dimensions: height about 5-10cm


Tall body with a round bottom and a small mouth. There is no handle, though sometimes it has string holes or ears. The name "Alabastron" is probably from the Egyptian word "A la baste" means "vase of Ebaste (goddess)".

Alabastron was used by women and often depicted on the vase-painting. It was introduced in late sixth century and favoured in the end, though disappeared in late fifth century.

Figued scene is arranged around the body, where sometimes have only a palmette pattern. Cf. Tampa 86.84 (Perseus Project).

Dimensions: height about 15-20cm


Circular body, convex top, and arched handle meeting the spout. The name "Askos" means wineskin and applied to the shape because of the resemblance of the form, though there is no evidence to prove Greeks had used the name for it.

This shape was appeared in the early fifth century and all of them are painted by red-figure. There is another shape in the form of the lobster craw.

Figured scene is arranged on either side of the body. Cf. Rhode 25.074 (Perseus Project).

Dimensions: diam. about 10cm and the diam. of the Lobster class is about 15cm.


Shallow bowl with turned in rim, three broad feet and a lid with a knob. The name "Kothon" was used not for the shape but for the cup. Cf. Paris, Louvre CA616 (Perseus Project).

This shape was probably succeeded by "Plemochoe" and used as a oil jug. It was produced in the early age of the black-figure.

Figured scene is arranged on the feet and the lid, and sometimes on the lip.

Dimensions: height about 10cm


Shallow broad bowl with turned in rim, tall stand and a lid with a knob. It was used as a oil container. The name "Plemochoe" is from the word "preme" means to overflow and "cheo" means pouring, and some literary evidences probably prove that Greeks had used this name for the shape. In the vase-painting, this shape is sometimes depicted in the wedding scene, probably used in a ritual. Cf. RISD 16.040 (Perseus Project).

There is no example with figure decoration, except for a Boeotian example, and some simple ornament are arranged.

Dimensions: height about 15cm


Miniature vase of Amphora, especially of panathenaic shape. Cf. Berlin inv.30036 (Perseus Project).

Black-figure painters liked to paint the same subject as panathenaic amphoras, though later painter preferred to depict their own subject.

Dimensions: height about 10-20cm


Round body with a disk-shaped mouth and a tall stand. This shape has a origin in the vase made in Lydia, though is very rare in the Attic workshops and painted by the black-figure only.

Figured scene is applied on the body, although the figures are generally rough. Cf. Harvard 1960.307 (Perseus Project).

Dimensions: height about 10cm