Nabataean Terracotta Perfume Bottle

£ 395.00

A finely rendered Nabataean red terracotta perfume bottle, featuring a long, cylindrical body, tapering into a deep-set mouth and overturned rim. An applied handle stretches from the vessel’s neck to the shoulder, while a small spout extends from the top of the body. The mouth features a small sprinkler opening, ideal for gently pouring 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.

Date: Circa 1st-2nd century AD
Condition: Fine, complete and intact.
Product Code: NES-46

Nabatean, or Nabataean, pottery and coroplastic production, recovered since the very first organized archaeological excavations of Petra in Jordan, attest to the great skills of Nabatean craftsmen. 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 a bright red terracotta, a fine modelling and by a painted decoration, and displays a smooth and matte finishing. Many different shapes have been recovered, including huge jars, pots, flacons for storage of perfumes and ointments, and bowls. One of the most interesting and most recognisable aspects of Nabatean terracotta wares is the thinness of the vessels’ walls, known as egg-shell vessels. Such vessels, featuring a thickness of 1-3 mm and a metallic hardness, were mostly shallow open bowls, extremely difficult to be potted on the potter’s wheel. With the Roman conquest of the area around 150 AD, Nabatean pottery production started losing its thinness and polychrome decoration, becoming more crude and simple.

To discover more about Nabataean artistic production, visit our relevant post: Nabataean Art of the Stone City Dwellers.

Dimensions H 9.5 cm



Near East (Western Asiatic)

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