In celebration of National Olive Day (June 1), we’re taking a closer look at an object associated with olive oil storage – the lekythos!
With a narrow neck and a single handle, the lekythos is a small vessel that stores perfumed olive oils or other balms. Associated with death and funerals in the Greek world, lekythoi were typically left near the burials sites of unmarried women, allowing women to partake in the common wedding practice of smearing themselves with oil as they prepared for marriage in the afterlife. Lekythoi commonly depicted images of either daily activities and rituals or funerary art like parting scenes, moments of loss, or burial practices.
-Elaina Kim ‘21, JIAAW Records and Collections Assistant 2017/18
See other examples of lekythoi: