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Archaeology Museum of Catalonia-Barcelona

Ointment jar in the form of a swallow

<p>Small blown glass container in the form of a bird, with an aperture in the tail Unknown origin 4th century AD.</p>

Small blown glass container in the form of a bird, with an aperture in the tail Unknown origin 4th century AD.

There are very few surviving examples of this type of object, belonging to an Islamic tradition of glass production dated between the 7th and 9th centuries.

Ointment jars were intended to hold perfumes or ointments used in everyday life, for personal hygiene and bathing, or for preserving medicinal products. The contents could also have been used in funeral rites.

These tiny jars were highly prized and their quality reflected their cost. The advent of blown glass made their use more widespread and lowered their price

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