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Alabastron (Container for Scented Oil)

A work made of alabaster.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of alabaster.

Date:

7th century BCE/1st century AD

Artist:

Egyptian

About this artwork

Before soap was invented, scented oils were used for bathing or perfume and stored in vials like this one. This early Egyptian example was carved from alabaster, a translucent stone that is plentiful in Egypt. Through trade the Greeks obtained and then copied the shape in colored glass or clay, calling the shape an “alabastron,” after the stone used for the vessels. Because they were considered very personal belongings, alabastrons were often buried with their owners and have been found frequently in tombs.

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Ancient and Byzantine Art

Culture

Ancient Egyptian

Title

Alabastron (Container for Scented Oil)

Origin

Egypt

Date

700 BCE–100 CE

Medium

Alabaster

Dimensions

H. 7 cm (2 3/4 in.); diam. 3.5 cm (1 3/8 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Henry H. Getty and Charles L. Hutchinson

Reference Number

1894.815

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

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