Such vessels in animal or human form are known as 'plastic vases'. With the details of the sandal and lines of the greave added in brown slip. On the reverse there is an incised and painted figure of a bird.
With Merrin Gallery, New York
American private collection, acquired from the above in 1991
Plastic vases are vessels in the shape of human and animal form, 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.
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. For another, identified as
being from Rhodes cf. the Museu da Farmácia, Portugal, inv. no. 10892.
For further discussion on
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.