Virilneus shows you his enruned glass jar.
Inside the glass jar you see a miniature animated Ithzir seer pacing restlessly.
Basically I envision a magical jar that can be waved at an animate and, like a genie into a bottle, suck them in for storage. While in the jar the duration would stop. The addition of gems to the jar would be able to increase the overall remaining duration. Also if you rubbed the jar the animate inside would be healed, borrowing that functionality from the Animate Dead auction wands already out there.
To release the animate you simply dump the jar out, the animate falls to the ground and instantly grows back to normal size.