Lot 662: Egyptian Crystal Alabastron
December 7, 2016
Harwich, United KingdomLive Auction
Description: Ptolemaic Period, 305-30 BC. A carved rock crystal miniature alabastron with waisted neck and lateral pierced lug handles. 21 grams, 62mm (2 1/2"). Property of a London gentleman; acquired before 1970. With the expulsion of the Persians from Egypt by Alexander the Great and the establishment of the Greek Ptolemaic dynasty of rulers, new art styles developed that reflected the mingling of Egyptian and Classical culture. This was done as a conscious effort by the Ptolemies to unite the Greek and native populations and was expressed through the arts, architecture and religion. Rock crystal had been used for vessels in Greece since the Archaic period, and the manufacture of them reached its peak during the Hellenistic period at such cosmopolitan urban centres as Alexandria in Egypt and Antioch, capital of the Seleucid Empire, now in modern Turkey. The Egyptians were noted for their meticulous personal hygiene and cosmetic boxes and bottles are some of the most common grave goods, and which show signs of use during the owners life. during much of the year the climate was hot and arid, and salves and oils were needed to keep the skin from drying and cracking. a wide variety of unguents, made from oils and fats scented with myrrh and frankincense from Africa, resins, or fragrant flowers, were rubbed on the body as part of the daily toilette.
Condition Report: Extremely fine condition.