Black-figure lekythos

Malibu Painter"mid-6th c. BC" - ""

Museum of Cycladic Art

Museum of Cycladic Art
Athens, Greece

Black-figure lekythos by the Malibu Painter, with representation of athletes cheering a youth and his galloping horse at their victory in the games, while chiton-clad judges observe the event. Equestrian contests were held in the hippodrome and included chariot races and horse races. The latter, in which the jockeys rode bareback - without saddle (ephippion) - holding the reins and the whip, were classed as races for mature horses (keletai) and races for foals (poloi). The races for keletai were introduced first into the programme of the Olympic Games, in the 33rd Olympiad (648 BC). The representation on this particular Attic lekythos is possibly related to the horse races held as part of the celebration of the Great Panathenaea, which the Tyrant Peisistratos established in Athens in 566 BC. Lekythoi are a creation of Attic pottery workshops in the first quarter of the 6th century BC and continued to be produced until the end of the 5th c. BC. They were used as perfume vases, mainly by women, as well as in funerary rituals. According to a scholium in Plato's Hippias Minor, "The Athenians named lekythos a vase with which they brought aromatic oils to the dead". They smeared the corpse with expensive unguents after it had been washed, and frequently placed such perfumes beside it in the prothesis (lying in state), in order to purify and rejuvenate the atmosphere in the house. When the deceased was put in the grave, the perfume vases were deposited too.


  • Title: Black-figure lekythos
  • Creator: Malibu Painter
  • Date Created: "mid-6th c. BC" - ""
  • Read more: <a href="http://www.cycladic.gr/frontoffice/portal.asp?cpage=resource&cresrc=825&cnode=55&clang=1">Read more</a>
  • Provenance: Unknown
  • Physical Dimensions: h175 mm
  • Period: Archaic period
  • Culture: Greek (Attic)
  • Type: lekythos
  • Rights: N.P. Goulandris Foundation - Museum of Cycladic Art, N.P. Goulandis Collection, no. 780, http://www.cycladic.gr/frontoffice/portal.asp?cpage=NODE&cnode=25&clang=1
  • External Link: Museum of Cycladic Art, Athens, Greece
  • Medium: clay

Additional Items

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more


Google apps