Definitions

Aryballos

Aryballos

[ar-uh-bal-uhs]

An aryballos (Greek: αρύβαλλος) was a small spherical or globular flask with a narrow neck used in Ancient Greece. It was used to contain perfume or oil, and is often depicted in vase paintings as being used by athletes bathing. In these depictions, the vessel is sometimes attached by a strap to the athlete's wrist, or is hung by this strap from a peg on the wall.

The shape of the aryballos originally came from the oinochoe of the Geometric period of the 9th century BCE, a globe-shaped wine jar. By the Proto-Corinthian period of the following century, it had attained its definitive shape, going from spherical to ovoid to conical, and finally back to spherical. This definitive form has a wide, flat mouth, and a single small handle. Some later variations have bell-shaped mouths, a second handle, and/or a flat base.

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