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Alabastron (Container for Scented Oil)

A work made of terracotta, black-figure on white ground.
Public Domain

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  • A work made of terracotta, black-figure on white ground.


about 500-480 BCE


Attributed to the Diosphos Painter
Greek; Athens

About this artwork

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, usually precious oils or perfumes.


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Arts of the Ancient Mediterranean and Byzantium


Ancient Greek


Alabastron (Container for Scented Oil)


Athens (Object made in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

500 BCE–480 BCE


terracotta, black-figure on white ground


16.2 × 6 × 6 cm (6 3/8 × 2 3/8 × 2 3/8 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Martin A. Ryerson through the Antiquarian Society

Reference Number


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Extended information about this artwork

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