© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
2012.1.128
Title
Pyxis
Classification
Vessels
Work Type
vessel
Date
1st-2nd century CE
Places
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Europe
Period
Roman Imperial period
Culture
Roman
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/191413
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Bone
Technique
Carved
Dimensions
8.1 x 3.7 cm (3 3/16 x 1 7/16 in.)
Provenance
[C. Dikran Kelekian Antiquities, New York] 1979, sold; to The Alice Corinne McDaniel Collection, Department of the Classics, Harvard University (1979-2012), transfer; to the Harvard Art Museums, 2012.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Transfer from the Alice Corinne McDaniel Collection, Department of the Classics, Harvard University
Accession Year
2012
Object Number
2012.1.128
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
The Harvard Art Museums encourage the use of images found on this website for personal, noncommercial use, including educational and scholarly purposes. To request a higher resolution file of this image, please submit an online request.
Descriptions
Description
Cylindrical bone pyxis with a lid attached by a bronze hinge and latch. Holes for a second, now lost, attachment are present on the opposite side. The exterior of the cylinder and lid is decorated with carved lines and raised bands. The top of the lid bears incised concentric circles and a carved spherical knob-handle.

Some chipping. The green discoloration is caused by the bronze hinge.

Commentary
A pyxis is a box used for storing toilet items including cosmetics. Typically cylindrical in shape, pyxides have a separate lid, often with a knob on the top.

These lidded cosmetic containers were made in a variety of materials including metals, glass, ivory, and wood. Bone, used for this pyxis, was considered a somewhat more modest material although the careful craftsmanship is evident in the well-formed knob and elaborate handle.
Publication History

Ioli Kalavrezou, Byzantine Women and Their World, exh. cat., Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2003), no. 154, p. 261-62 [Jennifer Ledig Heuser].

Exhibition History

Roman Gallery Installation (long-term), Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 09/16/1999 - 01/20/2008

Byzantine Women and Their World, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 10/25/2002 - 04/28/2003

Subjects and Contexts

Roman Domestic Art

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu