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Terracotta scent bottle in the form of a fat, squatting man


Height: 15.000 cm

Excavated by Auguste Salzmann and Sir Alfred Biliotti

GR 1861.10-24.2 (Terracotta 86)

Room 13: Greece 1050-520 BC

    Terracotta scent bottle in the form of a fat, squatting man

    From Kameiros on the island of Rhodes, Greece, around 520 BC

    Rhodes is a relatively large Greek island that was prosperous in antiquity because of its key position. It lies close to the coast of Asia Minor, which gave the inhabitants opportunities for contacts and trade. During the sixth century BC the scent trade was important. The scent itself may have been imported, but bottles to contain it were made on the island in a variety of materials and shapes. These bottles have been found in their hundreds on Rhodes itself, and were also widely exported.

    The local craftsmen developed a lively style. This scent bottle is in the form of a fat man in a semi-seated position, with his hands across his rotund stomach. He is a caricature, made for comic effect. Many bottles of this shape are known, and it has been suggested that the figure type shows Egyptian or Phoenician influence. The full range of scent bottles included both human figures and heads and a wide variety of animals.

    R.A. Higgins, Greek terracottas (London, Methuen, 1967)


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    On display: Room 13: Greece 1050-520 BC

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    Mycenaean history, £14.99

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