About this artwork
Containers like this one were used to store precious oils. The flaring rim functioned as an applicator to spread the thick, scented oil over the skin; while the vessel itself was designed to fit comfortably in the user’s hand. In this particularly lavish example, gold leaf was sandwiched between layers of colorless glass and worked into wavy bands with other colored canes.
Initially affordable among only the wealthy, glass was used widely in the Roman world to create a variety of everyday objects such as those displayed here, including delicate cosmetic containers that held perfumes and oils and various forms of tableware designed for serving food and drink.
- Currently Off View
- Arts of the Ancient Mediterranean and Byzantium
- Ancient Eastern Mediterranean
- Alabastron (Container for Scented Oil)
- Eastern Mediterranean Region
- 200 BCE–1 CE
- Glass, mosaic glass technique
- 12 × 2.2 × 2.2 cm (3 1/2 × 7/8 × 7/8 in.)
- Gift of Theodore W. and Frances S. Robinson