Collection Online

view lightboxview list

Monkey Aryballos (Oil Jar), 600-550 B.C.E

Maker: Unknown Maker, Etrusco-Corinthian

Medium: Ceramic

4 × 2 × 1 5/8 in. (10.2 × 5.1 × 4.1 cm)

Credit Line: Clarence Day Foundation Collection

Object Number: LI.90.36

On View

This aryballos or oil jar, is in the form of a Barbary ape, a monkey native to northen Africa. Although many such objects were made to hold oil, this example may have held perfume or makeup. Appropriately, for a jar associated with grooming, the monkey seems to be cleansing itself. Monkeys were very popular pets for wealthy Greeks—despite their reputation for mischief.