• latw-87-1
    Pyxis. (Courtesy of the Vedat Nedim Tör Museum, Istanbul)

Lydian pyxis

Date
Ca. mid-sixth century BC, Lydian
Museum
Manisa, Archaeological and Ethnographic Museum, 8384
Inventory No.
8384
Sardis CATNUM
P86.047
Material
Ceramic
Object Type
Pottery
Pottery Shape
Pyxis
Pottery Ware
Lydian Tableware
Site
Sardis
Sector
MMS
Trench
MMS-I 86.1
Locus
MMS-I 84.1 Locus 34
Description
Lydian pyxis. Rather narrow ring foot, cylindrical central body separated from conical shoulder and lower body by beveled ridges, made and applied separately. Low vertical neck with squared rim. Scars of two basket handles on shoulder. Neck and lower body painted with thick matte orangish slip, burned to brown; creamy white slip on central body and shoulder, decorated with large pendant triangles outlined in matte purple slip on shoulder; two registers of diagonally crossed metopes in various permutations on cylindrical central body. Mended from fragments, preserving about 1/4 of foot, about 3/4 of body and neck; both handles missing. Lack of decoration on the neck suggests that it was intended to have a lid. Height 0.225 m, diameter 0.240 m.
Comments
The Lydian “pyxis” is a very different vessel from the Greek shapes of the same name, and it should be remembered that many of the names applied to these vessels are modern convention, and do not necessarily reflect ancient terminology. A rather uncommon shape in Lydian pottery, it may have been used for cosmetics or storage of personal items. This example, one of the most complete from Sardis, comes from the house burned in the mid-sixth century BC (Area 1, with 16, 62, 64, 65, 66, 68, 72, 73, 75, 81, 88, 96, 97, 100, 102, 103, 137, 138); unfortunately nothing about its context suggests specifics about its use.
Discussed
Greenewalt, “Lydian Pottery”
Bibliography
Greenewalt et al. 1990, 154, n. 30, fig. 20; Cahill and Kroll 2005, 601.
Author
NDC