Aryballos suitable for perfumed oils
The Aryballo was used to store perfumed oil intended for body hygiene. Thanks to its shape, the various perfumed ingredients could be blended together by placing the thumb over the opening to prevent spillage.
A vial for this world and the after-life
This lecythe, with a white background, depicts a Dionysian scene. From the VIth century B.C. onwards, this type of container was used mainly in funerals.
The cosmetic jar – the perfume accessory
Long-necked cosmetic jars were produced in large quantities in Rome. Made from colourless or bluish glass and stained dark blue, amber or violet, they were used to store perfumes.
Glass wins acclaim
Glass was highly prized during the Middle Ages because of its transparency and capacity to store liquids and vapours. It became more sophisticated over the centuries, both in terms of its shape and decoration.
Perfume became the glassmaker’s business
All European glassworkers became involved in the perfume craze. They never ceased to improve and invent items in order to satisfy a sophisticated clientele that expressed its taste and personality as much in the choice of its fragrances as in that of the containers. Purchased in universal, unmarked vials, the perfume or salts were decanted into sculpted bottles.
Delicate Chelsea Toys from England
England remains faithful to soft porcelain like this from Chelsea (1745 –1769). The Chelsea Toys, like this figurine, illustrate themes that were very popular in the XVIIIth century: love and country-style tastes, etc.
Fragrant accessoriesFlowers, leaves, seeds and wood are used as accessories in many regions around the world to perfume the body: crowns of flowers or leaves, garlands of mint leaves, cloves and sandalwood…
From glassmaker to designer – a bottle is the signature of a brand name
In the early XXth century, after a long period during which only the container label distinguished the contents, perfumers worked closely with crystal manufacturers to create the most desirable of “attire”. The industrial revolution would be a key factor in their collaboration. Bottles, which were created for the perfumer, Coty, from 1920 onwards by the master glassmaker, Lalique, who produced work of an exceptionally high quality thanks to mechanical processes, symbolise this new joint venture. The containers began to evoke the fragrances inside.
Texts by Marie Grasse and Grégory Couderc
Copyright Musée International de la Parfumerie, 2, bd du Jeu de ballon 06130 Grasse
Crédit photographique © Carlo Barbiero / Musée international de la Parfumerie