Oil bottle (lekythos) with a woman looking in a hand-held mirror

Greek, South Italian
Late Classical Period
about 350–340 B.C.

Place of Manufacture: Italy, Lucania

Catalogue Raisonné

Vase-Painting in Italy (MFA), no. 006.


Height x diameter: 36 x 16.5 cm (14 3/16 x 6 1/2 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Ceramic, Red Figure with added white and yellow

Not On View


Europe, The Ancient World



A woman, perhaps a bride, seated and gazing at mirror in left hand. An Eros flies towards her.

Squat Lekythos
Attributed to the Primato Painter
about 350-340 B.C.
A woman is seated, with her lower body partly to the left and her upper body turned to the right. She is gazing at a mirror in her left hand. The mirror has its center, handle, axial attachments, and a ring of beads on its frame rendered in added white. A touch of yellow glaze suggests that the center was gilded. In her right hand the woman holds two small palm branches, whose fronds and stems are touched with white. She wears a chiton, himation, shoes, kekryphalos, necklace, and bracelets. her earrings, the pendants of her necklace, the ribbon tying her chignon, details of her shoes, and four tall, feather-like projections from her kekryphalos are rendered in white. Two large flowers grow in the area below her left elbow. Eros flies toward the woman from the right, holding a long garland in both hands. His wings have white highlights overlaid with glaze. he wears shoes, a wreath, and a spiraling anklet. in the field above are flowes and a hanging fillet. The flowers on the vase are shaded with dilute glaze and high-lighted with white.
On the front of the neck is a band of rays above a narrower band of tongues; in back is a dotted band. There are enclosed, upright palmettes on the shoulder. Three white dots ornament the base of each palmette, and two more dots ornament the base of each palmette, and two more dots flank the tip of its central petal. The band above the palmette is covered with white. The upper frame of the figure zone consists of egg-pattern and dots; the goundline of linked maeanders to right, with a single, dotted saltire-square below the woman’s feet. Below the handle is an elaborate palmette complex.


By date unknown: Edward Austin Collection; gift of Edward Austin to MFA, August 19, 1876

Credit Line

Gift of Edward Austin