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Small lekythos of aryballos type (close in shape to the miniature oinochoe), with a narrow neck, a vertical strap handle and a low ring base. The vase is decorated with vertical ribbing in a rather irregular way, since the ribbing is oblique instead of vertical; ribbing incised all around the body in the raw clay before firing. The surface is entirely covered with a thick layer of grey-black slip, slightly burnished on the shoulder and the neck, imitating imported Greek black-glazed products.
Perfume bottle of this type, especially with a black coating and a ribbed decoration, are rare in the Alexandrian pottery production of the Hellenistic period. No example is known until now from the domestic contexts recently excavated by the CEAlex or from the Nelson Island settlement, but two lekythoi found by Breccia in the Shatby necropolis are recorded with the same ribbing and black slip (Breccia 1912, vase no. 146, p. 59, pl. LX-90, quoting also another objet under Inventory number 10600, identical in shape and aspect). A date into the first half of the 3rd century is suggested by the changes we can observe in the typology of Alexandria perfume bottles towards the end of the 3rd century: objects from later context, like the ones from the Gabbary necropolis for instance, are clearly different in shape and coating.
Other perfume bottles, rather identical in shape but of different material, like alabaster or glass, are known also from the Shatby necropolis (Breccia 1912, vases nos. 278, p. 92, pl. LX-143, and no. 314, p. 100, pl. LXI-151).
Probably early Ptolemaic period ().
E. Breccia, La Necropoli di Sciatbi, Catalogue Général du Musée du Caire, Cairo, 1912.
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