Oil flask (alabastron)

Hellenistic Period
3rd century B.C.

Catalogue Raisonné

Highlights: Classical Art (MFA), p. 139.


Height: 13.5 cm (5 5/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Silver with gilding

Not On View


The Ancient World



Alabastron, or perfume flask, with long body tapering toward the flattened, widely flaring mouth. Between the two tiny handles formed by duck heads, hanging strap-like chains with tiny bud-shaped pendants are incised. Engraved scrolls of different sizes and styles decorate the shoulder, center, and lower body of the vase; and an elaborate floral design surrounds the bottom which is marked by a rosette.

Remarkably well-preserved, with some gold inlay remaining; slight flaking of the silver around the mouth.


By date unknown: with Fritz Bürki, Am Luchsgraben 61, 8051 Zurich, Switzerland; purchased by MFA from Fritz Bürki (Robert E. Hecht acting as agent) with funds made available by Mrs. Ashton Sanborn, March 13, 1974

Credit Line

Museum purchase with funds donated in memory of Ashton Sanborn