This vase is virtually intact, with many red-brick polychromatic traces well preserved (strap of the sandal).
It was molded in the shape of a right foot wearing a sandal, the very thick sole of which would have been carved from a piece of wood. It is decorated with various horizontal grooves, while a big notch in the wood separates the big toe from the others. Leather straps that were attached behind the heel and slightly higher than the toes allowed to tie the sandal to the foot. It has no handles.
This vessel, which certainly served for the storage of precious oils or perfumes, would have been filled through the holes that are visible on the upper part: the concave shape would have allowed the collecting of the liquid flowing off. The spout is at the Achilles tendon level and represents the head of a lion, the pierced mouth of which enabled the pouring of the liquid. This element, attested on many small plastic vases or on contemporary askoi, probably refers to the gargoyles of the temples or fountains that represented feline heads in the Greek world.
Plastic vases in the shape of a human foot (with a leather boot or a strap sandal) were very popular in ancient Greek crafts from the Archaic period onward. Workshops specialized in the production of perfume vessels were certainly located in eastern Greece (Rhodes), but also in Athens and in the western Greek colonies.
Stylistically, this piece can be related to a group of later vessels dated to the Hellenistic period and already documented by J. D. Beazley, who named them “magenta ware” because of the glossy red pigment that often characterizes their decoration. Probably originating in southern Italy (Campania?, late 4th-1st century B.C.), this type of ceramics mainly has two forms: bottles and mostly vessels, which, according to modern scholars, were meant to store the oil for the lamps. Among the most famous subjects of “magenta ware”, one should mention actors, symposiasts, seated Africans, heads of Isis and all kinds of animals (especially sacrificial animals such as goats, sheep, bulls and pigs).
Despite a few morphological differences (absence of the handle, shape of the rime, unusual number of filling holes), this foot would belong to this class of plastic vases.
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