About This Artwork

Greek; Athens
Attributed to the Diosphos Painter

Alabastron (Container for Scented Oil), About 500-480 B.C.

Terra-cotta, black-figure on white ground technique
16.2 x 6 x 6 cm (6 3/8 x 2 3/8 x 2 3/8 in.)

Gift of Martin A. Ryerson through The Antiquarian Society, 1907.11

Vessels of this shape were made over the course of hundreds of years and from a variety of materials. The shape may have originated in Egypt and taken its name from the word alabaster, but it was readily replicated in other materials, including terracotta and glass. The broad rim functioned as an applicator for spreading its contents.

—Permanent collection label

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

Display Junior Museum, "This is not a Greek Vase Show," November 1, 1984-January 29, 1986.

The Art Institute of Chicago, "Greek Vases - Form and Function," March 3, 1986-October 8, 1986.

The Art Institute of Chicago, Of Gods and Glamour: The Mary and Michael Jaharis Galleries of Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Art, Gallery 151, November 11, 2012 - present.

Publication History

Dietrich von Bothmer, Amazons in Greek Art, (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1957), pp. 107-108 (No. 192) and Plate LXIV (No. 3)

J.D. Beazley, Attic Black-Figure Vase-Painters, (New York: Hacker Art Book, 1978), p. 510, No. 22.

Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae (LIMC), I.1, Zurich: Artemis (1981-2009), pp. 633, no. 757.

Froehner, W. Collection van Branteghem. Paris, 1892, no. 156.

P. Badinou, La laine et le parfum: epinetra et alabastres. Forme iconographie et fonction Recherche de céramique attique féminine (Louvain 2003) no. A 24, pl. 44.

E. Hatzivassiliou, “Black-figure Alabastra by the Diosphos and Emporion Painters: Specific Subjects for Specific Uses?”, in A. Tsingarida (ed.), Shapes and Uses of Geek Vases (7th-4th centuries B.C.) (Brussels 2009) 229, fn. 17.

I. Algrain, L’alabastre attique: origine, forme et usages (Brussels 2014) 246, no. DIO 21.

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