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An elongated, narrow-necked flask with a rounded bottom, used to contain oil which was often perfumed.

The shape occurs in many materials including clay, glass and stone. Sometimes there are small lugs or ears on the shoulder, which are pierced and through which a string could be passed to suspend the vessel. It has a narrow aperture which is ideally suited for pouring oil.

Ceramic vessels of this shape occur especially in Corinthian pottery, East Greek wares and Etruscan bucchero, and Attic pottery. The Corinthian alabastron is characterized by a thick spreading lip and a narrow neck. The neck and body of the footless vessel form a continuous curve with widest diameter near the base. The Corinthian alabastron enjoyed its greatest popularity from the late seventh century down to about 550 B.C. The Attic alabastron has a wide spreading lip, with an offset high neck. The slender body is ovoid and footless, with a continuous profile. This shape was not derived from the Corinthian alabastron, but was introduced by the black-figure painter the Amasis Painter, influenced by the Egyptian original. (See Painter: Amasis Painter) In Attic pottery the alabastron was fairly common from the late sixth century to the early fourth century B.C.

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