Greek Kylix, Athlete with Strigil
source: Wikimedia Commons
A photograph shows a Greek red-figure kylix on display. The bottom of the cup bears an illustration of a nude Greek athlete scraping his arm with a strigil.
Artifact: c. 430 BC
Photo: May 2014
This Greek kylix painting depicts an athlete cleaning himself with a strigil. These tools would be used to scrape foreign substances off the skin, typically before bathing. In Greek culture, athletes would coat themselves with olive oil, which would mingle with sweat and dirt during training. (Palé wrestlers would even purposefully throw dust on their anointed skin for increased grip.) They would use these strigils to scrape off this substance, which would sometimes be saved and congealed for use as a medical salve.
Richter, G. M. (2008). Greek, Etruscan and Roman bronzes. Lindemann Press.
Sansone, D. (1992). Greek Athletics and the Genesis of Sport. University of California Press.