Art of the Ancient Mediterranean World

Lekanis (bowl) with lid
South Italian (Campanian), ca. 320-200 B.C.
Fired clay, red-figure technique
h. 4 3/16 in. (10.6 cm); diam. incl. handles 6 1/8 in. (15.6 cm)
Purchased with the Antiquities Acquisition Fund 
Photography by Peggy Tenison

Comprised of a small bowl (lekanis) bearing two handles and a lid, this vessel was produced by a workshop in Campania (the South Italian region stretching from Naples to Salerno). This type of bowl would have been used to hold jewelry or small personal items. The lid’s decoration, painted in the red-figure technique, features a seated female figure on each side. The woman seen here wears a long garment, or chiton, and her diadem, bracelet, belt, and feet are highlighted with white pigment—imagery that is well suited to the bowl’s function. Reportedly found at Cumae, a Greek colony in Italy just northwest of Naples, this lekanis was previously in the collection of George N. Olcott (American, 1869–1912). His widow sold the bowl to the Toledo Museum of Art in 1912, where it remained until its sale in 2017.