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HOME : Classical Antiquities : Classical Bronzes : Roman Bronze Balsamarium Depicting a Hunting Scene
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Roman Bronze Balsamarium Depicting a Hunting Scene - CK.0141
Origin: Mediterranean
Circa: 2 nd Century AD to 3 rd Century AD
Dimensions: 3.5" (8.9cm) high x 3.75" (9.5cm) wide
Collection: Classical Antiquities
Medium: Bronze


Location: United States
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Description
Balsamaria, or ointment jars, were carried to the baths filled with precious unguents for use there. They have been found with strigils, or scrapers, further supporting their function as containers for oil. Applying oil and then scraping it off with a slightly curved blade-like strigil was a common part of the bathing process. Balsamaria were produced in the first three centuries of the Roman Empire in a variety of forms, including busts and animal shapes. Scholars believe that bronze vessels of this type are thought to have been used as oil containers specifically by athletes. The scenes of wild beasts rendered in low relief are thought to refer to the stages hunts that were held in amphitheaters and were an integral part of athletic spectacles in Ancient Rome.

For related examples see:

Claudia Braun, Romische Bronzebalsamarien mit Reliefdekor; BAR Internation Series 917; 2001, pls. 11, 18, and 19. - (CK.0141)

 

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