This very rare and fine alabastron takes the shape of a leg protected by a greave. The greave is outlined in black slip and tapers towards the ankle area. The foot emerges beneath with carefully incised details for the sandal and toes, the details of the sandal and lines of the greave are added in brown slip. On the reverse there is an incised and painted figure of a bird.
American private collection, acquired from the above in 1991
Such vessels in animal or human form are known as 'plastic vases' and were especially popular in the Greek world during the middle of the 7th century BC to the mid 6th century BC. Plastic vases were typically used to hold perfumed and precious oils. Although Rhodes was the leading manufacturer of plastic vases during this period, the creamy clay body suggests this vase may have been produced in Corinth. For another, identified as being from Rhodes cf. the Museu da Farmácia, Portugal, inv. no. 10892.
For further discussion of plastic leg vases in particular see, W.R. Biers, ‘A Group of Leg Vases’, American Journal of Archaeology, vol.84, no. 4, 1980, p. 522-524.