When viewing ancient athletic scenes, most often a basic "kit" was always included: a sponge, an aryballos, and a strigil. The strigil was a small, curved, metal tool used extensively by the Greeks and Romans and considered essential in caring for the skin. After covering the body with olive oil, it was used to scrape dirt and sweat from their bodies as part of the process of massage, cold or hot baths, exercise, or competitive games. The curved handle allowed the strigil to be hung on a wall, together with the sponge and the aryballos containing the oil (see RB2102 aryballos), and were often used in Roman baths. This strigil is a little more ornate than the usual utilitarian examples for it features a fine concave tapering blade, and is decorated on the handle and exterior of the blade with incised linear decoration, wavy lines, leaves, scrolls, and fish.
For a related example, see Metropolitan Museum of Art, Accession Number: 97.24
Dimensions: Height: 10 3/4 inches (27 cm)
Condition: Loss to the side of the handle that does not detract, otherwise intact and in very good condition overall. On museum-quality custom mount.
Provenance: S. Zuckerman (1942-2017) collection, acquired from Tetragon, Portobello Road in the 1980s; and thence by descent to the present owner.
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