Don't worry, if you have never heard the Greek term aryballos or the Roman equivalent unguentarium, but you are right in the bathroom of the Greco-Roman world. These small flasks were extremely popular and were produced in all sorts of shapes and forms, most particularly with reference to their homes. But what were their purpose? They were usually small spherical or globular bottles with a narrow neck to infuse them and contain fine perfumes or body oils. Go to any Greco-Roman museum and you will see vase paintings where athletes are shown using these flasks to shower or taking a bath. Sometimes, you will discover that they even hang on a small strap at the athlete's wrist, but, as today, they are also the necessary tools which you find in bathrooms.
Now, as Corinth was a major power amongst the Greek cities, not at least because of its powerful harbour and connection to the global world, to the silk road to Persia, India and China, to the peppers, herbs, gums and scents of Arabia, to the precious stones of Africa, during the 7th c. BCE, Corinth developed its own style for the manufacture of pottery. The two preceding centuries had been dominated by Athen’s imposed, geometric style, but this was never the culture of the Greek islands. In Crete you will find a visual art that is contrasting the rigid academic Athenian taste. And similarly, Corinth did not follow the Athenian taste either.
With its independence from Athens, and its intensive trade with the south, Crete, and the East, Persia, it developed what today we would call orientalism, a design that is characterised by its use of plant and animal motifs. During the Late Proto-Corinthian era, potters and decorators specialised in the manufacture of small aryballoi. As today, perfume was always an important product, perhaps even more so than, when smell had to be superseded with scents.
Our product - details
This is a wonderful aryballos, made after a museum original (as you can see from the photographs). It originally came from the geometric period, although clearly using the animal that was even linked to Athens, the owl. Perhaps it was a joke that one should not take owls to Athens (because of its owl-coined money), but that it made a lot of sense to produce owls in Corinth. The original of our replica dates from ca. 650-625 B.C.
The replica is made of resin, a fine material for handmade products.
And, indeed, the product is handmade in The Netherlands.
Its height: 5cm