Pottery examples of the phiale (pl. phialai) are relatively few. It is a metal shape, and the application of the name to the shallow dish lacking handles is certain. Those with a central depression on the exterior that rises up as a boss in the centre of the bowl are described as mesomphaloi. From depictions of the shape in use - most typically for making libations - we can see that it was held with the palm outstretched and the middle finger reaching into the exterior depression.