Ancient Lekanis Dish, Magna Graecia (3247BHK) $575


H: 3.625”  Dia: 3.5″ | FREE SHIPPING!

This diminutive but very elegant piece is a lekanis, a lid-covered dish originating in Greece embraced by artisans from Apulia in Magna Graecia in Southern Italy who adapted this form in their Xenon wares in the 6th century BCE. This terracotta lidded bowl is covered with pale matte salmon decorations over a black glazed body, a bowl highlighted with decorative meandering bands. Fathers in ancient times filled these bowls with small items of adornment and gave them to their daughters as a wedding gift, which would be a delightful tradition to uphold today.


This ancient-pottery piece is a functional-and-utilitarian item called a lekanis from Apulia in Magna Graecia, the Roman name used for the Southeastern Italy coastal area colonized by the Greeks. Settlers arrived with their Hellenic culture intact and had much influence on Italian civilization. A lidded lekanis contained cosmetics and they were also brides’ gifts. Although utilitarian, it was not made for commoners or considered coarse ware and, rather, was fine ware. Fathers filled them with jewelry and gave them to their daughters as wedding gifts. Normally painted with pale matte orange-red or salmon decoration over a black earthenware terracotta body, this vessel has a geometric meander across center, a decorative band of tapering vertical lines on the shoulder and a thin line around the lower body. It has a short foot and an applied handle. Although others had horizontal ribbon-like handles and rested on a low foot, this has no handle and is unusual for its high profile. Even its articulated handle is rather tall. As is usual with pieces more than two millennia old, there is fading and losses of the salmon paint and small chips around the rim and elsewhere revealing the color of the reddish clay body. This piece is in remarkably good condition given its age. As it was presented by fathers to their daughters on their wedding day in ancient times, this tradition would be wonderful to replicate as a wedding gift.

Additional information

Weight 6 lbs
Dimensions 8 × 8 × 8 in
Place of Origin

Ancient Mediterranean


Ancient, Magna Gracia


4th Century B.C.E.

Materials and Technique


Dimensions (inches)

Ht: 3.625” Dia: 3.5”

Dimensions (metric)

Ht: 9.21cm Dia: 8.89cm


5.6 oz


Very good, wear consistent with age and use/no restorations/repairs

Reference Number


Shipping Box Size