About This Artwork

Greek; Athens
Attributed to the Diosphos Painter

Alabastron (Container for Scented Oil), about 500/480 BC

Terra-cotta, decorated in the 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.

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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