Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Glass aryballus (oil bottle) with bronze suspension chain

1st–2nd century A.D.
Glass, Bronze; blown
H. 3 3/8 in. (8.6 cm); diameter 3 1/8 in. (7.9 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 168
Translucent blue green; handles in same color.
Collar rim folded out, down, round, and up, with outward flange at top; cylindrical neck with tooling marks around base; globular body; rounded bottom; two opposed ring handles applied to top of body, with tooled groove at outer edge of pad.
Intact, except for tiny weathered chip on rim; few bubbles; slight soil encrustation, dulling, and some iridescent weathering on exterior, soil deposits and brownish weathering on interior.
Attached to each handle, a circular bronze ring made by bending length of wire into circle, held in place by twisting the overlapping ends; attached to rings two long bronze chains, square in profile, both attached at other ends to another ring of tear-drop, also attached to this ring is another short length of bronze chain and then another circular bronze ring.

Since the ancients did not have soap, they used olive oil to help cleanse their skin. Bottles such as this one were ideal for carrying one’s own supply to the baths.
Said to be from Cologne

Alexander, Christine. 1933[1925]. Greek Athletics. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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