Bactria or Bactriana was an ancient country situated between the Hindu Kush and Amu Darya mountains; today a part of Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Its relevance centred around 600 BCE and 600 CE, as it served as a significant meeting place for Western and Eastern trade routes as well as being a central location for religious and artistic ideas. This meant large scale migration and resettlement of communities which resulted in a large circulation of new cultures and languages and an accumulation of vast wealth. In the ancient world, alabaster was widely used. This was on account of the rock’s softness which allowed for fine detail to be carved into it without need for iron or steel tools, resulting in an attractive finish.
Simple Alabaster Bactrian Vase
A Bactrian vase in pink-hued alabaster. It is simple in form, with straight sloping sides tapering to a plain rim. The vessel rests on a flat base presenting some earthly encrustations and a crack, which does not damage the object. The surface is smooth and almost glittery when seen against the light, presenting some white marks to the rim and to the base. The thin walls of the vase are skillfully carved by the artisan to increase the capacity of the vase.
Period: Early Bronze Age
Condition: Complete, with a few small cracks around the base which are stable and one small chip loose but in situ on the rim.