Plastic Aryballos

Object Details


Plastic Aryballos




East Greek


East Greece (Place created)


about 580 - 560 B.C.




11 cm (4 5/16 in.)

Credit Line:

Gift of Leon Levy

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The Minotaur, a monster with a bull's head and a human body, was the son of the Cretan queen Pasiphae and a beautiful white bull, for which she developed an irresistible passion. The monstrous Minotaur was imprisoned in a labyrinth, where he devoured human sacrifices. On this East Greek plastic aryballos, however, the Minotaur wears a tunic and necklace and looks quite docile.

Plastic vases, vessels made in the form of a human, animal, or mythological being, were popular in the Greek world from about 650 to 550 B.C. Rhodes, off the coast of Asia Minor, was a leading production center, but the vases were widely distributed and imitated by other cities. The Greeks used the vases to hold perfumed oil, and the vessels' narrow openings were designed to restrict the flow of this precious commodity.

by 1974

Private Collection (Switzerland)

- 1983

Leon Lévy, 1926 - 2003 (New York, New York), donated to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1983.

Ancient Art from the Permanent Collection (March 16, 1999 to May 23, 2004)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), March 16, 1999 to May 23, 2004

Archaeologisches Institut der Universitaet Zurich. Das Tier in der Antike. Exh. cat., September 21-November 17, 1974. Zurich: 1974. cat. no. 276.

"Acquisitions/1983." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 12 (1984) p. 240, no. 44.

Biers, William R. "The Minotaur in Malibu?", Greek Vases in the J. Paul Getty Museum 4. Occasional Papers on Antiquities 5 (1989), pp. 5-10. figs. 1a-e.

Woodford, Susan. "Kerkopes," Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae VI (1992), pp. 32-35. p. 577, no. 36.