An aryballos (Greek: αρύβαλλος) was a small spherical or globular flask with a narrow neck used in Ancient Greece. It was used to contain perfume or oil, and is often depicted in vase paintings as being used by athletes bathing. In these depictions, the vessel is sometimes attached by a strap to the athlete's wrist, or is hung by this strap from a peg on the wall.

The shape of the aryballos originally came from the oinochoe of the Geometric period of the 9th century BCE, a globe-shaped wine jar. By the Proto-Corinthian period of the following century, it had attained its definitive shape, going from spherical to ovoid to conical, and finally back to spherical. This definitive form has a wide, flat mouth, and a single small handle. Some later variations have bell-shaped mouths, a second handle, and/or a flat base. Potters also created inventive shapes for aryballoi.

  • Cypriotic geometric white painted ware, 850–750 BC

  • Owl-shaped, Proto-Corinthian, 630 BC

  • 575–550 BC (Louvre)

  • Greco-Egyptian faience hedgehog, 6th century BC

  • Janiform with kalos inscription, 520 BC

  • Foot-shaped, ca. 500 BC

  • Two ephebes wrestling, 490–480 BC

Other articles related to "aryballos":

Black-figure Pottery - Developments - Corinth - Transitional Style
... The index form of the time was the spherical aryballos, which was produced in large numbers and decorated with animal friezes or scenes of daily life ... artists of the time were the Shambling Bull Painter, whose most famous work is an aryballos with a hunting scene, the Painter of Palermo 489, and his disciple, the Columbus Painter ... Beside the aryballos, the kotyle and the alabastron are the most important vase shapes ...