Terracotta lekythos (oil flask)

Attributed to the Painter of the Yale Lekythos

Period: Classical

Date: ca. 470–460 B.C.

Culture: Greek, Attic

Medium: Terracotta; red-figure, white-ground

Dimensions: H. 5 1/2 in. (14 cm); diameter 2 5/8 in. (6.7 cm); H. as restored 6 7/8 in. (17.5 cm)

Classification: Vases

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1907

Accession Number: 07.286.44


There were several important ceremonies in ancient Greece in which it was customary for boys and girls to sacrifice a lock of their hair. The image depicted on this vessel, however, may refer to a scene in The Seven against Thebes, a tragedy by Aeschylus produced in Athens about 470 B.C. Since the seven heroes knew that only one of them would survive battle, each cut a lock of his hair and tied it to the chariot that would carry home the survivor. This lekythos was probably made as a tomb offering. It may represent one of the seven heroes from Aeschylus' tragedy, or it may reflect the heroic death of an Athenian youth.