Apulian Red-Figure Askos

Object Details


Apulian Red-Figure Askos




Greek (South Italian, Apulian)


Apulia, South Italy, Europe (Place created)


360–350 B.C.



Object Number:



17 × 16 cm (6 11/16 × 6 5/16 in.)

Credit Line:

Gift of Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman

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Vase-painters working in the Greek colonies in South Italy frequently depicted scenes connected with theatrical performances. Phlyax plays, popular in the 300s and 200s B.C., were farces parodying the heroes and themes of mythology or the comic elements of everyday life. The term phlyax, which is used for both the play and the costumed actors, probably derives from the Greek verb "to swell" and finds its meaning in the actors' costumes. They wore a mask, tights, a padded tunic, and a large artificial phallus; any other garments necessary for the role were worn over this.

Master and slave themes were popular in phlyax plays. On one side of this Apulian red-figure askos, a phlyax characterized as an older man runs along brandishing a stick. The other side shows a slave fleeing the beating.

The askos is a flask with a spout at one end and a handle across the top. This variant is called a duck askos because the back view resembles a duck's tail.

- 1988

Robin Symes Ltd, sold to Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman, 1988.

1988 - 1996

Barbara Fleischman


and Lawrence Fleischman, American, 1925 - 1997, donated to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1996.

A Passion for Antiquities: Ancient Art from the Collection of Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman (October 13, 1994 to April 23, 1995)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), October 13, 1994 to January 15, 1995
  • The Cleveland Museum of Art (Cleveland), February 14 to April 23, 1995
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

Trendall, Arthur Dale, and Alexander Cambitoglou. Second Supplement to The Red-figured Vases of Apulia (Supplement to the Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies of the University of London, 60). London: 1991-1992, p. 74, no. 11/133b, pl. xii.5-6.

True, Marion, and Kenneth Hamma, eds. A Passion For Antiquities. Ancient Art from the Collection of Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman, exh. cat. (Malibu: The J. Paul Getty Museum, 1994), pp. 134-35, cat. no. 59.

Zewadski, William Knight. Ancient Greek Vases from South Italy in Tampa Bay Collections. Supplement III. Tampa: August 1995, p. 95, no. 1l.

"Museum Acquisitions Between July 1, 1996, and June 30, 1998." The Report of the J. Paul Getty Trust (1997-98), p. 68.

Robinson, E.D.G. "Reception of Comic Theatre Amongst the Indigenous South Italians." Meditarch 17 (2004), 193, 194, 196, pl. 27.3-4.

Todisco, L. (ed.), La Ceramica a Figure Rosse della Magna Grecia e della Sicilia (Rome: L’Erma di Bretschneider, 2012), pl. 135.3-4.