Height: 15.300 cm
Length: 17.700 cm
GR 1873.8-20.269 (Vases E 803)
Room 71: Etruscan world
Terracotta perfume flask (askos) in the form of a lion
Etruscan, 340-300 BC
Probably found in the Francois Tomb, Vulci (ancient Etruria), Lazio, Italy
A ferocious scent
This exquisite terracotta perfume bottle in the shape of a lion was probably made at Chiusi, an important city in northern Etruria, where animal-shaped perfume containers were popular in the fourth century BC. This type of ornate container was produced predominantly at Chiusi and belongs to a class of Etruscan pottery of the fourth and third centuries BC which includes vases in the shape of human heads as well as more conventional pottery-shapes. The group is known as the Clusium Group - Clusium is the Roman name for Chiusi.
With their elaborate form and sometimes additional decoration in gold, these objects were clearly made for a wealthy clientele.
M. Harari, Il gruppo Clusium della ceramo (Rome, 1980)
O. Brendel, Etruscan art, Pelican History of Art (Yale University Press, 1995)
E. Macnamara, The Etruscans-1 (London, The British Museum Press, 1990)
L. Burn, The British Museum book of G-1, revised edition (London, The British Museum Press, 1999)