715-330 B.C. Egyptian Artifact - Alabastron With Stand

  • Country: Egypt
  • Period: Late (715-330 B.C.)
  • Type: Egyptian Artifact - Albastron
  • Composition: Alabaster
  • Height: 2.875" (7.3cm)
Before soap was invented, scented oils were used for bathing and perfumes. These scented oils were typically stored in vials made from alabaster, a translucent stone that is plentiful in egypt. Through trade, the greeks obtained and copied the shape in colored glass or clay calling the shape "alabastron" after the stone used for the vessels. Because these were considered very personal belongings, alabastrons were often buried with their owners and have been frequently found in ancient tombs.

An alabastron is the antiquity version of a perfume bottle. It is a long thin flask with a long narrow neck and rounded bottom. The small lug handles were often pierced to allow the vessel to be suspended with string. The contents of an alabastra were that of luxorious purfumed oils used for decorative or funerary purposes. Alabastra had a unique shape with a small opening that was ideal for pouring oil. Originating in Egypt in Syria the alabastron shape gained popularity in ancient Greece. In this region it was produced in a variety of materials including stone, clay, glass, and precious metals.

The production of glass, clay, and stone vessels first began in Egypt in the 2nd millennium B.C.E. after which the concept slowly made its way to the Greek world. Egyptian influence is easily identifiable in the alabaster vessels. In fact, the stone was quarried in Alabastron, today known as Stone Village, located near Tell el-Amarna along the Nile River. This areas was used to manufacture luxury items, especially perfume bottles and ointment vases. Egyptians were well known for their stoneworking in antiquity and as such, they held this area in high esteem.
This particular example is a nicely shaped small alabastron with an elongated oval form and two small lug handles. This piece is carved from banded alabaster and the top is missing the seperately carved spout.

*Artifact condition is based on our professional opinion. Pictures are representative of the artifact that you will receive, actual artifact may differ slightly*