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  1. #1
    Basenotes Junkie Hat and Beard's Avatar
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    Default Syrian and Hellenistic Perfume/Incense Pieces at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

    I was in the MET again and came across these pieces that I thought some of you may enjoy. They were found in two different exhibitions that are currently up; Court & Cosmos: The Great Age of the Seljuqs and Pergamon and the Hellenistic Kingdoms of the Ancient World. Hope you like!





    Perfume Sprinkler (Qumqum)
    Probably Syria, 11th - mid 13th century
    Greenish glass; blown, applied blown foot, applied decoration


    This long-necked glass bottle with a ring shaped body would have been used for disseminating rosewater or another aromatic substance mixed with water. Rosewater was used for cooking and as a perfume to be sprinkled on guests at the end of a meal. The production of sprinklers in Syria from the late 11th - mid 13th century reflects another aspect of courtly manners in which attractiveness in all it's forms was prized.



    Incense Burner in the Form of a Bird of Prey
    Probably Eastern Iran, Khurasan, 11th - 12th century
    Bronze; cast, pierced openwork, punched, engraved, inlaid with opaque turquoise glass


    Animal shaped incense burners were widespread in eastern Seljuq lands. The characteristic pierced openwork forms a complex interlace star pattern on the breast, back, and head of the bird, through which the sensuous aromas were diffused. Such a sophisticated household object would've been used by the affluent members of Seljuq society, most likely in a secular and/or private context so that this figural form would not provoke controversy. The bird of prey was it self connected with royalty, power, and protection, furthering the incense burners luxuriousness and reinforcing it's signification of wealth.

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    Glass mosaic alabastron (perfume bottle)
    Greek, Late Hellenistic period, or Roman, early Imperial period, 1st century B.C. - early 1st century A.D.


    These spindle-shaped perfume containers were produced in imitation of luxury vessels made in banded agate, a semi precious stone. In technique, they mark a transitional stage in the production of closed forms in glass - from the core-formed and cast vessels of the Hellenistic world to the ubiquitous blown glass of the Roman empire.




    Glass gold-band mosaic alabastron (perfume bottle)
    Greek, Late Hellenistic period, 1st century B.C.


    This luxury cast glass perfume container includes bands of gold foil sandwiched between layers of colored glass. It belongs to a distinctive group of Late Hellenistic glass vessels that were made in two parts - a body joined to a neck and rim section, allowing the body to be filled easily and then, when the neck was added, for the precious contents to be poured out carefully.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Hat and Beard; 25th June 2016 at 02:06 PM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Syrian and Hellenistic Perfume/Incense Pieces at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

    Thanks for sharing - what a great exhibition worth seeing

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Syrian and Hellenistic Perfume/Incense Pieces at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

    Wow, those Grecian glass mosaic perfume bottles are gorgeous. And the techniques look so complex, it's hard to believe they're from the 1st Century B.C. Thanks for sharing these!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Syrian and Hellenistic Perfume/Incense Pieces at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

    The first basenoters....

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    Default Re: Syrian and Hellenistic Perfume/Incense Pieces at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

    Thank you for sharing the photos. Very nice.
    Remember that while it is perfectly acceptable to criticize the content of a post - criticizing the poster is not.
    Mean spirited, nasty, snide, sarcastic, hateful, and rude individuals on Basenotes don't warrant or deserve my or other Basenoters' acknowledgement or respect.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Syrian and Hellenistic Perfume/Incense Pieces at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

    Oh, how wonderful! Thank you, I really enjoyed seeing these!

  7. #7

    Default Re: Syrian and Hellenistic Perfume/Incense Pieces at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

    Fantastic images. Thanks for sharing.

    Amazing craftsmenship especially given the age. Love that bird insense burner.
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    Default Re: Syrian and Hellenistic Perfume/Incense Pieces at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

    Quote Originally Posted by Monsieur Montana View Post
    The first basenoters....
    Ha. Good point. Sent messages via pigeons?
    MY STEALTHY FREEDOM.

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    Dependent Monsieur Montana's Avatar
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    Default Re: Syrian and Hellenistic Perfume/Incense Pieces at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

    Quote Originally Posted by adam090273 View Post
    Ha. Good point. Sent messages via pigeons?

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Syrian and Hellenistic Perfume/Incense Pieces at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

    Quote Originally Posted by Cook.bot View Post
    Wow, those Grecian glass mosaic perfume bottles are gorgeous. And the techniques look so complex, it's hard to believe they're from the 1st Century B.C. Thanks for sharing these!
    Yes - those ones are particularly nice.

    Quote Originally Posted by Monsieur Montana View Post
    The first basenoters....
    LOL!

    Let us not forget the first cave-lady to roll around in an ash-pit - for that awesome body-powdered look and smoky gourmand scent that drove the boys wild!

    Quote Originally Posted by adam090273 View Post
    Fantastic images. Thanks for sharing.

    Amazing craftsmenship especially given the age. Love that bird insense burner.
    Same here! That piece is amazing!
    There is no beauty / That cannot be more abused / To beauty's effect.
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  11. #11
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    Default Re: Syrian and Hellenistic Perfume/Incense Pieces at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

    Beautiful!
    <div class="bnsotd"><b>Currently wearing:</b> <a href="ID26148387.html"><img src="http://www.basenotes.net/photos/products/33/26148387-7393.jpg"> Carven L'Eau Intense by Carven</a></div>

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    Default Re: Syrian and Hellenistic Perfume/Incense Pieces at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

    Thanks for this!
    Very clearly a case for corn flakes and classics
    Currently wearing: Halston 1-12 by Halston

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    Default Re: Syrian and Hellenistic Perfume/Incense Pieces at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

    Quote Originally Posted by Hat and Beard View Post
    I was in the MET again and came across these pieces
    Hat and Beard, since there's nothing in the photos to indicate scale, can you tell us how tall those glass perfume bottles were? I'm presuming they were quite tiny.

  14. #14

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    Default Re: Syrian and Hellenistic Perfume/Incense Pieces at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

    Thanks for the pics!

    I happened to visit those exhibitions too last week, and they were very interesting.

    cacio

  15. #15
    People of Zee Wurl, Relax
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    Default Re: Syrian and Hellenistic Perfume/Incense Pieces at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

    Very cool, thanks for sharing. I love the real vintage perfume accessories.

    I was watching Antiques Roadshow the other day and a woman had an inscribed tablet from, presumably, Persia at least 800-1000 years old so they brought in an expert to translate it. Turns out it said:

    "Sale thread - No swap offers and NO LOWBALLS. All Amouage are plastic capped."

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Syrian and Hellenistic Perfume/Incense Pieces at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

    Quote Originally Posted by Monsieur Montana View Post
    The first basenoters....
    :-)

  17. #17
    Basenotes Junkie Hat and Beard's Avatar
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    Default Re: Syrian and Hellenistic Perfume/Incense Pieces at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

    Quote Originally Posted by Cook.bot View Post
    Hat and Beard, since there's nothing in the photos to indicate scale, can you tell us how tall those glass perfume bottles were? I'm presuming they were quite tiny.
    Of course! I didn't think about including that when I started post. Sorry. They were small, but not as tiny as you would think. The smallest item was the piece with the gold cap. That only stood about 2" tall at most. The rest of the Hellenistic pieces ranged from about 6-8" tall. The Syrian incense burner and perfume bottle were easily 11" tall with the bottle being a tad shorter than the burner.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Syrian and Hellenistic Perfume/Incense Pieces at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

    Beautiful - so kind of you to post those!
    I've had a lifelong interest in the world and times of Alexander the Great. Now I can imagine him handling some of those gorgeous pieces.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Syrian and Hellenistic Perfume/Incense Pieces at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

    Nice to see those artefacts in the perfect context of BN.




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