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an ancient Greek ceramic oil flask with a low foot; it has a narrow neck ending in a funnel and a vertical handle to ensure the steady pouring of oil. The lecythus evolved from a vessel with a conical body (black-figure, second half of the sixth century B.C.) into a vessel with a cylindrical body (black-figure and red-figure, fifth century B.C.). Lecythi with paintings on a white background were used in burial rites (common from the mid-fifth century B.C.).