Hellenistic Unguentarium (Perfume Bottle)Hellenistic
3rd century BCE - 1st century CE
8 11/16 x 2 x 5/16 in. (22 x 5.1 x 0.8 cm)
Bryn Mawr College
Accession Number: P.3130
Classification: Containers and Vessels; Vessels; Unguentaria
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- Hellenistic - Refers to the ancient Greek period, culture, and art of ancient Greece that lasted from about 330 BCE to 31 BCE, when Augustus defeated Cleopatra and Mark Antony. It is characterized by an international culture that was ushered in by Alexander the Great's conquest of India, Egypt, and the Near East. In architecture and art, the style is marked by greater sophistication, complexity, and diversity than was known in earlier Greek styles. Architecture diverges from strict rules of earlier periods. Sculptors emphasized more realistic figures in a greater variety of poses than in earlier Greek art.
- unguentaria - Containers probably used to hold ointments and perfume. Early ceramic examples found at Petra (probably 4th-century BCE) were in the typical Hellenistic form of the spindle bottle, but this form was later completely replaced by a series of high-necked types with round to ovoid bodies of varying and apparently standardized forms (from the 1st century BCE onwards). The number of unguentaria found at Petra suggests that they were made locally; their manufacture would have been linked to the myrrh and other unguents that the Nabataeans traded. They have also been found at western sites. Pear-shaped glass unguentaria were later made at various locations in the Arabian peninsula.
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