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Alabastron (Container for Scented Oil)

A work made of glass, core-formed technique.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of glass, core-formed technique.


6th-4th century BCE


Ancient Mediterranean

About this artwork

Initially affordable only among the wealthy, glass was used in ancient Rome to create tableware and containers for oils and perfume. In the ancient Mediterranean world, scented oils, usually olive oil based, were used more frequently than alcohol-based perfumes. This vessel is called an alabastron because objects of this shape were originally made of alabaster. To create it, an oblong, heat-resistant form was dipped into molten glass and then removed, leaving behind the core-formed glass object. The patterned exterior was created by trailing different colored threads of glass over the body of the vessel and then combing the threads with a pointed tool.

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Arts of the Ancient Mediterranean and Byzantium


Ancient Mediterranean


Alabastron (Container for Scented Oil)


Mediterranean Region


600 BCE–301 BCE


Glass, core-formed technique


11.4 × 3.2 × 3.2 cm (4 1/2 × 1 1/4 × 1 1/4 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Theodore W. and Frances S. Robinson

Reference Number


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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