Tear bottle, unguentarium, Roman

Production date
1st Century CE-4th Century CE
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Object detail

Tear bottle, also called unguentarium (perfume bottle). Blue clear blown glass, with globular body, thin neck and out-turned rim. Some residue and iridescence inside the vessel. Complete.
CH classification ARCHAEOLOGY Roman
Production date
1st Century CE-4th Century CE
H102mm x W21mm x D21mm
Media/Materials description
History and use
A persons personalty can be communicated through the scents and perfumes they choose to wear. Smell is one of the strongest senses, inducing memories, associations and powerful emotions. Perfumes and scented oils were used in the ancient world to heighten attractiveness, and communicate wealth, status and express the nature of the person. Available in solid or liquid form, perfumes were used in all aspects of daily life, including sports events, banquets, rituals and provided as offerings to gods and the deceased.

This perfume bottle is commonly called a 'tear' bottle. These are among the most commmon containers found in ancient Rome. For a time these were romantically thought to have held the tears of mourners as they were placed in large numbers in tombs and grave sites.
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