Amphoriskos, Perfume bottle. Sand core formed, opaque cobalt blue, added decoration in white and yellow, high arched handles (1 repaired). Amphoriskos from the Greek, for ‘small amphora’, in reference to its shape.
CH classification ARCHAEOLOGY
0199 BCE-0001 BCE
L125mm x W60mm x D50mm
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 exquisite glass vessel is known as an Amphoriskos, from the Greek, for ‘small amphora’, in reference to its shape. In ancient Greece, ‘scent-shops’ were prosperous businesses and served as meeting places where citizens enjoyed spending time, and exchanging news and gossip. The price of perfume was determined by the rarity of ingredients. Only the wealthy accessed the latest available scents, mixed by an expert perfumer. Perfumes were extensively traded around Greece and beyond but were extremely expensive, due to ingredient scarcity and labour costs.