Early Roman Perfumed Oil Bottle


A beautiful light terracotta, late Hellenistic to early Roman perfumed oil bottle. The vessel has a round, globular body, which dips in before its base. The neck of the bottle is short, and flares out to a wide, open mouth with everted rim. The inside of the mouth itself is rather narrow. The bottle has been wheel-spun, as evidenced from its horizontal striations around its body.

Date: Circa 1st century BC - 1st century AD
Provenance: Ex K. Furness collection, acquired by descent from her mother. Circa 1950s onwards.
Condition: Very good condition with some very minor chips and surface abrasion or encrustation.


Roman pottery was used for utilitarian purposes and widely produced throughout the empire in specialised workshops, which created distinctive forms blending local and Roman decorative traditions and production styles. A broad division between ‘coarse’ and ‘fine’ ware is normally used to classify the wide range of Roman vessels; the former being used for storage and transportation purposes, the latter comprising serving vessels or tableware with intricate relief or painted decorations. The small size of this vessel and its shape, especially its narrow mouth, indicate that its contents would have been precious and used in small quantities. For this reason, we can tell it would have been a vessel for personal use, such as to hold perfume.

Weight 78.6 g
Dimensions W 4.4 x H 9.7 cm



Pottery and Porcelain

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