Active in Corinth, Greece, 575-550 B.C.E.
Alabastron: Bucranium and Water Birds
Earthenware, painted and incised decoration
20.2 cm (h.), 9.7 cm (diam.)
Gift of F. Cleveland Morgan, inv. 1925.Cb.2
Archeology and World Cultures
Corinth, located on the isthmus linking Peloponnese and Attica, had access to both the Adriatic to the west and the Aegean to the east. During the seventh and sixth centuries B.C.E., it was the main pottery production centre of the Greek world. Corinthian relations with the Near East are considered to have been a stimulus for the development of the animal and plant motifs, especially rosettes, on Corinthian pottery. Small alabastra such as this one were used to hold scented oil. Their narrow neck helped control the flow of the precious liquid, usually olive oil infused with aromatic plants such as rose, sage, coriander or pomegranate. Corinthian alabastra were widely exported and inspired local versions, in particular among the Etruscans in central Italy.