second century. It has been tastefully mounted in the Cinque-cento
style, with a base and spout to convert it into a rose-water ewer,
according to the usage of that period. It had long adorned the famous
Gonzagu Gallery at Mantua, until, in the lamentable four days' sack of
that city by the Imperialists in 1629, it fell into the hands of the
Duke of Brunswick, one of the chiefs of the German robbers. The value
formerly set upon it was 150,000 thalers, half which amount is said to
have been frequently offered for it to its then possessor. The Vienna
Cabinet possesses another alabastion, similar in shape to the Mantuan,
covered with reliefs of masks and Bacchic ornaments ; but bearing a
dedicatory inscription, a verse of Anacreon's, showing it to have been
made for a present to a lady of pleasure.
alabastra in Onyx, though unadorned with camei, were long treasured in
the French cathedrals, and devoted to their original purpose of holding
(the consecrated) oil. A magnificent specimen of the stone, formerly
belonging to the cathedral of Sens, is now in the possession of Mr. J.
alabastra were occasionally used by the liomans as wine flasks, in
order to impart their perfumed flavour to the liquor ; Martial notes
(xiv. 110), " Ampulla Potoria"—·
" Hao licet in gemma qufe servat nomina Cosmi Luxuriose bibas si foliata sitis."
Onyx is enumerated amongst the articles of export from India early in
the first century, by the author of the ' Periplus of the Bed Sea.'
Thus he mentions " the city called Ozene (now Ougein), whence all
things necessary to the natives are brought down to Barygaza
(Barcellone, on the Gulf of Cambay), and also articles pertaining to
the trade with us ; namely, stones, the Onyx and murrhina,
Indian cloths—fine and common quality, &c." Again he has : " from
the same places are exported nard, zedoary, assafetida, ivory,
Onyx-stones, &c. To Barace (Baroach) are brought pepper, many fine
stones ; also various and numerous kinds of lustrous gems, the
diamond, the hyacinthus, &c." Further on he specifies the exact
locality producing the Onyx : " From Plythanse (Pultanah) Onyx-stones in abundance, from Tagarœ (Dowlatabad) much common cloths, &c, all which are