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Lekythos with Boar Hunt

Xenophantos

C.380 BC

Clay; h 37 cm

This large squat lekythos was discovered during excavations at a necropolis in Panticapaeum (Kerch), the capital of the Bosporan Kingdom. The vase is decorated with a hunt scene: warriors on foot, on horseback and in chariots chasing real and fabulous animals. The presence of the fabulous blue griffin side by side with a real wild boar has led some scholars to assume that this vessel was created specially for the Bosporans: local gold coins with representations of a griffin (as the symbol of Panticapaeum) were minted from the 4th century BC. On the shoulders of the vessel is a band with miniature relief figures representing gods fighting giants. Above is the author's signature: ‘Made by Xenophantos the Athenian.'

This lekythos is remarkable for the combination of painting with low relief, both moulded and freely modelled. Such a combination, together with the polychromy and overloaded composition, are characteristic of Athenian vessels of the time of the decline of red-figure painting.

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