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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; Alexandria, Egypt

About this artwork

Initially affordable only among the wealthy, glass was used in ancient Rome as containers for oils, perfume, and tablewares. In the ancient Mediterranean world, scented oils, usually olive oil based, were generally used rather than alcohol-based perfumes. This vessel is called an “alabastron” because objects of this shape were originally made of alabaster. Core-formed glass was made by dipping a removable core that gives the vessel its shape into a molten glass mixture. The pattern was created by trailing threads of glass mixture of different colors over the body of the vessel, 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


13.3 × 3.8 × 3.8 cm (5 1/4 × 1 1/2 × 1 1/2 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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