This so-called "beehive" vessel of fine banded alabaster, is conical in form, tapers to a flat base, and features two small perforated lug handles at the shoulder. The accompanying lid also exhibits a perforated lug finial at the top.
Vessels of this distinctive shape were used to hold perfumed oils, aromatic gum resins, incense (frankincense or myrrh), or semi-solid unguents (aromatic ointments) such as the "Balm of Gilead," described in the Bible as a particularly valuable commodity. Such jars were one of the most desirable and highly prized commodities of Ancient Arabia.
Dimensions: Height: 4 inches (10 cm)
Condition: Encrusted base and deposits on the interior of the jar. Some very minor ancient rim and lid edge roughness, but otherwise intact and in overall excellent condition.
Provenance: Private NYC collection, acquired from the New York trade, 1980-1990s.