Nabatean, or Nabataean, pottery and coroplastic production attests the great skills of Nabatean craftsmen and has been recovered since the very first organized archaeological excavations of Petra in Jordan. Since the 1st century BC, the Nabateans developed a specific and characteristic style in their pottery production without any reference to the Hellenistic artistic tradition. Nabatean pottery is characterised by bright red terracotta with a smooth and matte finishing, fine modelling and painted decorations. Many different shapes have been recovered, including huge jars, pots, flacons for perfumes and ointments storage and bowls. With the Roman conquest of the Nabataean area around 150 AD, Nabatean pottery production started losing its thinness and polychrome decoration, becoming more crude and simple.
Nabataean Terracotta Perfume Bottle
A finely modelled Nabataean red terracotta perfume bottle featuring a squatted low-bellied globular body tapering into a deep-set mouth and overturned rim. An applied handle stretches from the vessel’s rim to the shoulder while a small spout extends from the top of the body. The mouth features a small sprinkler opening comprising of one larger central hole surrounded by four smaller ones, ideal for the careful pouring of perfumes and oils. Such vessels were indeed used largely to pour expensive oils, perfumes and incense, hence the small opening and spout. The shape of this vessel is almost unique to Nabataean pottery.
Provenance: From an important collection of Near Eastern pottery formed by a gentleman, deceased, before 1988; passed by descent to his family in London and Geneva.
Condition: Fine and complete, some chipping to the spout.