Terracotta pyxis (box)

Attributed to the Penthesilea Painter

Period: Classical

Date: ca. 465–460 B.C.

Culture: Greek, Attic

Medium: Terracotta; white-ground

Dimensions: H. 4 3/4 in. (12.1 cm)
H. with cover 6 3/4 in. (17.2 cm)

Classification: Vases

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1907

Accession Number: 07.286.36a, b


During the middle of the fifth century B.C., the white-ground technique was commonly used for lekythoi, oil flasks placed on graves, and for fine vases of other shapes. As classical painters sought to achieve ever more complex effects with the limited possibilities of red-figure, the white background gave new prominence to the glaze lines and polychromy. The decoration of this pyxis reflects the delight with which an accomplished artist like the Penthesilea Painter depicted a traditional subject.