Perfume vase on stand (exaleiptron)

Classical Period
about 440–430 B.C.


Height: 23.5 (9 1/4 in.) Diameter: 16.5 cm (6 1/2 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


On View

Conservation on View: Etruscan Sarcophagi (Gallery 117)


The Ancient World



A rare example (only 10 or so known) of the exaleiptron shape of vase, the name derives from the Greek word meaning “to anoint.” Also called plemochoe or kothon, used to contain perfumed oil as part of an elite woman’s toilet and used also as a grave offering. The sharply inward-curving lip of the vessel held in the precious fluid and prevented it from spilling. Stem, body, shoulder and lid were lightly painted.

Deep cylindrical box terminating in shallow round bowl supported on stem with ornamental ring which rests on round base with three low feet. Perfume box flares at top and has a flaring round rim, the parallel edges forming a grove. Lid with raised concentric circles and tall knob, is held on box by two round guards.Turned on lathe.


By date unknown: with H. Burg, 32 St. James Street, London, S.W. 1; purchased by MFA from H. Burg, October 13, 1938 for £ 125

Credit Line

William Amory Gardiner Fund