The name alabaster or alabastron designates a type of ceramic vessel that has an ovoid-shaped body, no handles and a short, narrow neck that terminates in a spout with a wide flange. They were common in ancient Greece, used to contain oils, especially perfumes and ointments. Their origin lies in Egypt, where they were made of alabaster, a name that the ceramic pieces then adopted. The city of Corinth was the center of production during the 7th and 6th centuries B.C. and from there they circulated throughout the known world.
These vessels were decorated with motifs that included forms of flora and fauna, interpreted according to geometric patterns combined with mythological animals such as griffons or sphinxes.
Our alabaster vessel comes from a workshop in Corinth and is attributed to the Luxus Group, with a delicate decoration whose central motif is a double palm. A lion is seated on either side of her, facing each other. The palm and the animals reveal a high level of geometric abstraction; her head has an interesting scheme of forms that serve to highlight her features, as is the case with her eyes. The use of the silhouette allows the animal’s open mouth to be seen, where its tongue can be distinguished.