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HOME : Classical Antiquities : Greek Art : Hellenistic Terracotta Pyxis with Cover
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Hellenistic Terracotta Pyxis with Cover - X.0051
Origin: Mediterranean
Circa: 3 rd Century BC to 1 st Century BC
Dimensions: 3.75" (9.5cm) high
Collection: Classical
Medium: Terracotta

Location: United States
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The body of this terracotta pyxis, burnished red with black swirls, rests on a low ring foot. The rim features four vertically pierced lugs that suggest this work might have once been suspended, seemingly floating in mid-air. The cover has a central knob handle to ease access to the contents once contained within. Most intriguing, the letter “H” has been scratched into the bottom of the foot. Is this letter the artist’s signature? Perhaps it is the initial of the original owner of the pyxis. In antiquity, this would have been used by women to house jewelry or other such little trinket. Even today, women continue to keep their precious treasures in luxurious containers that both protect and enhance the prestige of the items. Surely this phenomenon can trace its roots back to objects like this pyxis. Over two thousand years ago, a Greek noble lady might have safeguarded her priceless jewelry in this pyxis. However, today the pyxis has become the treasure. Although the contents it once contained have long since disappeared, the beauty and history of this pyxis astounds us in itself. Today, we appreciate it for what it is, not for what it holds. - (X.0051)


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