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Precious Vessels: A Brief History of the Perfume Bottle (online)

Academic Nuri McBride surveys the history and evolution of fragrance containers from the ancient to the modern, around the world. Online.

For the vast majority of human history, perfume was a precious limited resource. Liquides of such rare beauty couldn’t be stored in any old jar…or could they?

In this class, we will survey the history and evolution of fragrance containers from the ancient to the modern, the humble to the hyper-luxurious, and look at examples from around the world. By exploring these physical objects, we will examine how different societies used and valued perfume over time.

This is an online class. The Zoom link will be sent by email 24 hours before the class. If you cannot attend live, we will share access to the recorded class for 7 days with everyone who has registered for the class.


An “attend live” ticket allows for access to the live class, including Q+A, as well as the video of the class after it’s taken place. For those with an “Attend Live” ticket, the Zoom link will be sent by email 24 hours before the class.

A “video only” ticket grants access to view the video of the class. Videos are available for 7 days after the class ends.

There are no refunds or transfers for this class.

This class takes place on Zoom and will be recorded. We will share the video for this class with all registered participants for 7 days after it takes place.

This event is presented as part of our relaunched ‘Scent and Society’ series. Scent and Society is an ongoing exploration of the multiplicity of perfume histories across time, and across the world.


Nuri McBride is an academic, activist, writer, and perfumer focused primarily on the preservation of olfactive cultural heritage. Her main area of interest is in the importance of aromatics in life-cycle rituals, particularly surrounding death and dying. This interest grew out of Nuri’s personal work in end of life care and witnessing the emotional power scent can hold for the bereaved. In 2015, she began the Death/Scent project to explore the use of aromatics in death practices around the world. Nuri is a long time advocate for greater death awareness education and an end to funeral poverty. She also incorporates scent in her guided death meditation classes as a profound way to connect the participants to the physical, intellectual, and emotional state of examining their mortality.

Links: Website / Twitter / Instagram / Facebook


This is an online class that will take place on Zoom. The Zoom link will be sent by email approximately 24 hours before the class, and reminder emails are sent automatically through the Eventbrite system. Lest these emails end up in your spam folder, please be sure to add hello@artandolfaction.com and noreply@event.eventbrite.com to your address book.

+ Event times are listed in Pacific Time (PDT); please use a time converter for your local start time.

+ Please download and install Zoom before the class starts, to avoid last minute technical issues.

+ Learn more about how we teach and our community guidelines here: https://artandolfaction.com/newcomers/

+ We will upload the class recording after session, and share it for 7 days with attendees. This video is view-only, and expires at the end of the 7 day window.

+ Unfortunately, we cannot offer refunds or credit for this class. Note also that event tickets are non-transferable.

Image Credits: Terracotta alabastron (perfume vase) in the shape of a hare, ca. 600–550 BCE, Etruscan, Etrusco-Corinthian. Public Domain Dedication via The Met’s Open Access policy.; Pescia, Istituto Tecnico Agrario D. Anzilotti, interno, saletta rosa, affreschi con selene e endimione 06 alabastron greco, Sailko, 2018. Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0): https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en; Glass alabastron (perfume bottle), Greek, Eastern Mediterranean late 6th–5th century BCE.Public Domain Dedication via The Met’s Open Access policy.; Terracotta vase in the form of a siren, East Greek, Rhodian, ca. 550–500 BCE. Public Domain Dedication via The Met’s Open Access policy.

May 29 2023


Date: 29 May
Time: 09:00 - 10:30
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The Institute for Art and Olfaction
Website: Visit Organizer Website