An ancient Greek, Attic terracotta ‘lekythos’ vase with black-figure decoration at its centre. The vessel features an elongated body with broad, flat shoulders. A thin, cylindrical neck rises from the shoulders, ending with a black glazed spout. The shoulders are decorated with a simplified palmette motif. A flattened handle rises from the edge of the vase’s shoulders and curves into the neck just under its black top, glazed black also.
To the top of the body is a band of geometric patterns, which frames the scene below. Four figures are depicted, filling the width of the vessel’s body. The central figure is the Greek hero Herakles, recognisable from the signature lion-skin he wears and the array of weapons, including his infamous club and a bow, he holds. He is depicted walking right, however his head faces left, looking back at two figures, both wearing armour. One is mounting a chariot, driven by four horses, which is likely to be the Greek goddess Athena, and the other is standing behind, holding a spear, thought to be Iolaus. The fourth figure appears to be an older man, standing in front of the chariot’s horses. This figure is most likely Hermes, based on his dress. He is depicted wearing the petasus, a shot hat, and winged sandals. Based on similar decorative scenes, this narrative could portray Herakles journey to Olympus. In such scenes he is often accompanied by the gods Athena and Hermes. The rest of the vessel is decorated with larger bands of thick black glossy glaze, terminating at the small stepped foot. Additional detailing has been applied to the decorative scene in rich burgundy and white pigments.