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Pouring Oil: Funerary And Religious Lekythoi


Discover lekythoi - small ancient Greek vases with many uses - from making offerings to the dead to holding oils for wedding preparations.

This white ground lekythos was created from 475-500 BCE, during the Classical period of Ancient Greece. Lekythos vases usually have one handle and were used by ancient Greeks for storage and the pouring of oil as a funerary or religious offering. To commemorate the dead, families would visit the graves of the deceased and pour an offering of oil from a lekythos.

Lekythoi were also used for storing special oil or water for the ritual bath that brides took before they got married. The lekythos shown in the picture above depicts a woman, preparing for her marriage. However, this wedding probably didn't take place - as the bride may have died before getting married. Often white ground lekythos, like this one, were placed on the graves of women who died before their weddings.

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