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Home > Auctions > 25th February 2020 > Greek Gold Perfume Flask

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LOT 0093

GBP (£) 4,000 - 6,000
EUR (€) 4,670 - 7,010
USD ($) 5,150 - 7,730

£3,240 (EUR 3,784; USD 4,175) (+bp*)

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Greek Gold Perfume Flask

5th-4th century BC

A gold miniature vessel (βῖκος = vikos) with five bands of rosettes and other ornaments to the sidewall, flared rim, two strap handles with loops and suspension chain, openwork rosette lid with deep lip, possibly used as a perfume or incense container. 11.76 grams, 42mm (1 1/2"). Fine condition. Rare.

With a Japanese dealer in 1996, kept in London since then.
See I profumi nella Grecia alto-arcaica e arcaica: produzione, commercio, comportamenti sociali, in A. Carannante – M. D’Acunto (a cura di), I profumi nelle società antiche. Produzione, commercio, usi, valori simbolici, Pandemos: Paestum (Sa), pp.190-233; for the technical terminology of such containers see Bonati, I., Il lessico dei vasi e dei contenitori greci nei papyri: Specimina per un repertorio lessicale degli angionimi greci, Archiv für Papyrusforschung und verwandte Gebiete - Beihefte 37, Berlin, Boston, 2016, p.31.
Perfume vessels were a popular grave-good across the Greek world, attesting to the cultural significance of perfumes and fragrances. In terms of numbers of finds in funerary contexts, they are comparable with wine vessels. For example in the tomb of Pithekoussai (Ischia) of c.720 BC, 14 out of 28 objects were perfume holders, comprising three lekythoi, five aryballoi from the local factory, four aryballoi Corinthian globular type aryballoi and two in the Rhodian ‘spaghetti’ style; in this context the variety of types of perfume holders probably also reflects the
broad range of perfumes they held. Perfume’s popularity in a burial context probably reflects the extensive and important use of fragrance during funerary rituals.