From:Teece Museum of Classical Antiquities
About this objectMiniature flasks like this were used almost exclusively for perfumes. The narrow necks with rounded bodies were ideal for the fragrant oils and could be stoppered with cork or wood fragments. This vase has been made of fine orange-brown clay and the slip has fired grey-brown. It has a bulbous body and an elongated neck, perfect for slowing pouring out the contents.
Perfumes were an important part of daily life for ancient cultures. As far back as the Bronze Age perfumes were manufactured and exported around the Mediterranean. They were used for spiritual and religious ceremonies, and for personal hygiene. Ancient cultures would also sometimes anoint the dead with scented oils and leave bottles of perfume with the burial. It was also thought that perfumes had healing properties, and Hippocrates (the 'father of medicine') prescribed fumigation and perfumes to ward off illness.
Both the Greeks and the Romans were devotees of public baths, and after exercise and bathing would often be massaged with scented oils before heading off to their next engagement. Given that soap was unknown at that point, the various fragrances could hide a multitude of sins of personal hygiene.
Date Madeca. 1st century CE
Medium and MaterialsCeramic: Pottery
Style and IconographyRoman
Style and IconographyHellenistic
TechniqueThrowing (pottery technique)
MeasurementsHeight 75mm; Diameter 32mm
Subject and Association KeywordsCosmetics
Subject and Association KeywordsPersonal beauty
Subject and Association KeywordsMourning customs
Named CollectionThe James Logie Memorial Collection, University of Canterbury, New Zealand
Credit LineDonated by Mrs Broadhead, 1968.From the collection of Professor H.D. Broadhead.
Object TypeStorage Vessels
Copyright LicenceAll rights reserved