An Attic white-ground alabastron

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Lot 180
An Attic white-ground alabastron

Sold for £ 48,000 (US$ 62,650) inc. premium

Antiquities

28 Apr 2010, 11:00 BST

London, New Bond Street

An Attic white-ground alabastron
Group of the Negro Alabastra, circa 490-480 B.C.
Depicting a female figure walking to the right and turning to look back, draped in a chiton with himation and wearing a necklace and bracelet, holding a wreath in her right arm, outstretched over a laver, a black lion walks behind her, with a palm tree on the far left, the word 'KALOS' inscribed in Greek three times around the figure, 'MELANPHIS [KA]LE' inscribed in white within a black border below the neck, 6½in (16.6cm) high

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    Property of a private English collector. Acquired at Christie's London, 28 April 1993, A Private Collection of Important Greek Vases', lot 29 where the collection is described as 'well known to J.D. Beazley'.

    Exhibited:
    The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford from 2001 to 2009. This lot is accompanied by its Ashmolean display card.

    Literature:
    A very unusual alabastron, the name Melanphis Kale can be translated as 'Black Flower'. Such alabastra were given as love gifts and the frequent use of 'Kalos' supports this. This alabastron is close to works by the Syriskos Painter within the Group of the Negro Alabastra mentioned in J.D. Beazley, Attic Red-Figure Vase-Painters, 2nd edition (Oxford 1963), 1314.14. Cf. J. Neils, 'The Group of the Negro Alabastra,' Antike Kunst, vol. 23, (1980), pp.13-23; H. Winnefeld, 'Alabastra mit Negerdarstellungen', Athenische Mitteilungen, vol.14, (1889), pp.4-50; Munzen und Medaillen, Auktion 40, 13 December 1969, p.67, fig.47, nos.109-110; J. H. Mertens, Attic White Ground, (New York 1977), pp.35-40, 95 and 100; J. Thimme, 'Griechische Salbgefasse mit lybischen Motiven, Jahrbuch Baden-wurttemberg, vol.7, (1970), 7 and 30.
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