Oil Ampulla in the Form of a Dancing Bear

200s CE
Overall: 14.6 x 10.4 x 9.5 cm (5 3/4 x 4 1/8 x 3 3/4 in.)
Location: 103 Roman
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Did You Know?

This ampulla was likely used to carry oil to the baths in antiquity.


This bronze bear sits on its hindquarters with its front paws raised, head slightly turned left, and mouth gaping open. It wears a collar around its neck with two rings on either side, where a chain would be passed through to suspend the ampulla. The bear’s head is hinged at the back of the collar to open the vessel, with the lower jaw forming a spout. The eyes were once pierced to prevent an airlock within the ampulla. Bears, like many other animals in antiquity, were used as a form of entertainment, demonstrated here by the bear’s “dancing” pose.
Oil Ampulla in the Form of a Dancing Bear

Oil Ampulla in the Form of a Dancing Bear

200s CE

Italy, Roman

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