This pyxis (a round box with a lid, used for storing cosmetics) is from the late period of Corinthian vase painting, which spread throughout the Mediterranean region in the 7th and the first half of the 6th centuries B.C. It is decorated, like Corinthian vases of that period generally, with a frieze of mythical and real animal figures which follow oriental patterns, the spaces between them being filled with geometric and plant motifs. On both sides of the vase and its lid, two pairs of sphinxes stand facing each other in the centre of an unusually symmetrical composition, with sirens and lions to their sides. The silhouette drawings of the slender, delicate figures are enlivened by the indication of internal details, which are incised and painted in red.
János György Szilágyi