Plastic Vase in the Form of a Seated Slave

Unknown2nd - 1st century B.C.

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum

A sitting woman forms the body of this Hellenistic Greek plastic vase. The woman's clothing and posture characterize her as a slave. Hellenistic artists frequently depicted people from the lowest levels of Greek society--slaves, drunks, old people, those with various 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.

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  • Title: Plastic Vase in the Form of a Seated Slave
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date: 2nd - 1st century B.C.
  • Location Created: Asia Minor
  • Physical Dimensions: 27.5 x 15.3 cm (10 13/16 x 6 in.)
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Terracotta
  • Source Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Villa Collection, Malibu, California, Gift of Stefan Hornak
  • Object Type: Plastic vase
  • Object Status: Permanent Collection
  • Number: 83.AE.320
  • Display Location: Not currently on view
  • Department: Antiquities
  • Culture: Greek
  • Credit Line: Gift of Stefan Hornak
  • Classification: Vessels