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SOLD Ancient 6th century B.C. Greek Corinthian Pottery Aryballos With Siren


SOLD Exceptional Ancient 6th century B.C. (Ca. 580 to 520 B.C.) Greek Corinthian pottery perfume flask Aryballos with a bulbous body, narrow neck, small handle, and a thick everted rim. The body is painted in black and brown and accented with incised lines with figure of mythological creature, a siren -- with the head of a woman on the body of a bird. She stands with wings spread and head reverted. The shoulder is painted with concentric circles and bands of radiating strokes at the top of the rim and the base is decorated with circular rings.

An aryballos was used in Ancient Greece to contain perfume or perfumed oils, and is often depicted in vase paintings being used by athletes during bathing. In these, the vessel is at times attached by a strap to the athlete's wrist, or hung by a strap from a peg on the wall.

THE SEIRENES (Sirens) were three monstrous sea-nymphs who lured sailors to their death with a bewitching song. They were formerly handmaidens of the goddess Persephone and when she was secretly abducted by Haides, Demeter gave them the bodies of birds to assist in the search. They eventually gave up and settled on the flowery island of Anthemoessa.

The Seirenes were encountered by the Argonauts who passed by unharmed with the help of the poet Orpheus who drowned out their music with song. Odysseus later sailed by, bound tightly to the mast, while his men blocked their ears with wax. The Seirenes were so distressed to see a man hear their song and still escape that they threw themselves into the sea and drowned.

The Seirenes were depicted as birds with either the heads or entire upper bodies of women.


Height: 6.3 cm (2.48 inches).

CONDITION: Very fine condition. Intact, with light surface deposits.

PROVENANCE: Ex Canadian private collection.

The buyer will be provided with a certificate of authenticity.

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