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Alabastron (Container for Scented Oil)

A work made of glass, mosaic glass technique.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of glass, mosaic glass technique.

Date:

Early 2nd-1st century BCE

Artist:

Late Hellenistic or early Roman; eastern Mediterranean

About this artwork

Containers like this one were used to store precious oils. The flaring rim functioned as an applicator to spread the thick, scented oil over the skin; while the vessel itself was designed to fit comfortably in the user’s hand. In this particularly lavish example, gold leaf was sandwiched between layers of colorless glass and worked into wavy bands with other colored canes.

Initially affordable among only the wealthy, glass was used widely in the Roman world to create a variety of everyday objects such as those displayed here, including delicate cosmetic containers that held perfumes and oils and various forms of tableware designed for serving food and drink.

Status

Currently Off View

Department

Arts of the Ancient Mediterranean and Byzantium

Culture

Ancient Eastern Mediterranean

Title

Alabastron (Container for Scented Oil)

Origin

Eastern Mediterranean Region

Date

200 BCE–1 CE

Medium

Glass, mosaic glass technique

Dimensions

12 × 2.2 × 2.2 cm (3 1/2 × 7/8 × 7/8 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Theodore W. and Frances S. Robinson

Reference Number

1941.1099

IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

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https://api.artic.edu/api/v1/artworks/43397/manifest.json

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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