Book section Open Access
Figures of squatting men, conventionally called comasts, are among the favourite shapes of archaic Greek plastic vases. The function of the vessels is well known. They served as oil or scent containers, like aryballoi and alabastra. This paper presents an unusual piece which throws some light on the origin and the significance of the type. The design on his back depicts the carapace of a scarab-beetle. The origin of this hybrid figure must be sought in Egyptian art, where the images of scarabs and dwarfs can blend. Was the type was just "meant to be amusing" or did it inherit the apotropaic qualities of Egyptian models?