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Aryballos (oil flask)


Late 7th Century BCE



This type of vase was used by ancient athletes for the olive oil with which they covered their bodies before practicing or competing. After exercising, they would remove the oil and accumulated dust and sweat with a metal scraper (called a stlengis or strigil). The flask could easily be toted with a small strap wrapped around the neck of the vase. Although the painted decoration on this vase is very worn, surviving traces suggest a quatrefoil pattern common on Late Corinthian aryballoi made in Corinth in the late 7th century. The pale yellow fabric of the clay also aids in identifying the vase as Corinthian.