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Roman Bronze Balsamarium w/ Lid & Chains

$2,995.00
Roman, Imperial Period, ca. 1st to 3rd century CE. A heavy, cast bronze balsamarium, in excellent condition. The vessel has a tall, cylindrical body with a gently flared shoulder, a narrowed neck with a double-ringed mouth, and two flat handles with florate designs. A round lid with a plug-like handle fits neatly into the mouth. Three chains, composed of round bronze links, extend from the handles and top of the lid to a ring for hanging the vessel. Size: 1.95" W x 9.05" H (5 cm x 23 cm)

Balsamariums were, as the name suggests, used for holding balsam, the resinous, sap-like product of many different plants, as well as the oil used by athletes to clean their skin. Balsamaria most often depict women's or satyr's heads, but some more simple, like this example. Cosmetics were as important to the ancient Romans as they are to us today, used by men and women, and with specialized equipment made for holding them. Often balsamariums were so important that they were buried with their owners and some, like one of a woman's head at the British Museum (1868,0601.3) were made exclusively to be placed into tombs with offerings rather than used by the living.

Condition: In incredible condition for its age, with a mottled brown and green patina that in some places, including on one shoulder, has attained a deep turquoise color. Chain and lid are present and intact.

Provenance: private Houston, Texas, USA collection

All items legal to buy/sell under U.S. Statute covering cultural patrimony Code 2600, CHAPTER 14, and are guaranteed to be as described or your money back.

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