Plastic Vase in the Form of a Seated Enslaved Woman

Unknown2nd–1st century B.C.

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum
Los Angeles, United States

A seated woman forms the body of this figure vase. Her clothing and posture characterize her as an enslaved person. In the Hellenistic period, there was increased interest in depicting people at the margins of society‑‑slaves, drunks, old people, those with physical deformities‑‑in all forms of art, from large‑scale sculpture to small vessels. 

Plastic vases‑‑vessels made in the form of a human, animal, or mythological being‑‑enjoyed periods of popularity in Greek art. Although they were most popular in the 600s and 500s B.C, there was a limited renewal in their popularity during the Hellenistic period in workshops in Asia Minor, where this one was made. These Hellenistic plastic vases were much larger than their Archaic predecessors and they had a different function. Archaic vessels usually contained precious oils, whereas this example served as a pitcher.


  • Title: Plastic Vase in the Form of a Seated Enslaved Woman
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 2nd–1st century B.C.
  • Location Created: Asia Minor
  • Physical Dimensions: 27.5 × 15.3 cm (10 13/16 × 6 in.)
  • Type: Plastic vase
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Terracotta
  • Terms of Use: Open Content
  • Number: 83.AE.320
  • Culture: Greek
  • Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Villa Collection, Malibu, California, Gift of Stefan Hornak
  • Creator Display Name: Unknown
  • Classification: Vessels (Containers)

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