The J. Paul Getty Museum

Corinthian Alabastron

Object Details


Corinthian Alabastron


Attributed to Painter of Palermo 489 (Greek (Corinthian), active 640 - 600 B.C.)


Greek (Corinthian)


Corinth, Greece (Place Created)


640–625 B.C.



Object Number:



7.4 × 4.3 cm (2 15/16 × 1 11/16 in.)

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Object Description

A double-bodied panther stares out from this Corinthian black-figure alabastron (oil container). The hybridized monster has one head, which serves the two confronting bodies whose tails intertwine on the back of the vase. Hybrid monsters were a favorite image for Corinthian vase painters, and this symmetrical placement of figures was common on alabastra in this period. However, the idea of using one head for two bodies is comparatively rare. Rosettes fill the area around the creature, a motif also typical of Corinthian pottery of this period.

Small alabastra were used to hold scented oil. Olive oil in particular was treated with aromatic plants such as rose, sage, coriander, and pomegranate. Since this was a valuable luxury item in the Mediterranean, it was usually stored in bottles with narrow necks that could control the flow of the liquid.

by 1984 - 1985

Fritz Bürki & Son (Zurich, Switzerland), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1985.

Athletes in Antiquity: Works from the Collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum (February 1 to April 15, 2002)
  • Utah Museum of Fine Arts (Salt Lake City), February 1 to April 15, 2002

"Acquisitions/1985." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 14 (1986), p. 188, no. 25.

Amyx, Darrell A. Corinthian Vase-Painting of the Archaic Period (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988), p. 335, no. AP-1.

Neeft, C. W. Addenda and Corrigenda to D. A. Amyx, Corinthian Vase-Painting in the Archaic Period (Amsterdam: Allard Pierson Museum, 1991), p. 24, no. AP-1.

Amyx, Darrell A., and Patricia Lawrence. Studies in Corinthian Vase Painting. Hesperia: Supplement 28 (1996), p. 12, no. 26 as comparandum (wrongly ciited as 85.AE.5).

Grossman, Janet Burnett. Athletes in Antiquity: Works from the Collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum, exh. cat. (Salt Lake City, UT: Utah Museum of Fine Arts, 2002), p. 30.

Coulié, Anne. La Céramique Grecque aux Époques Géométrique et Orientalisante (Paris: Éditions A. et J. Picard, 2013), 134, fig.118.