Ancient Roman Glass Ribbed Bowl


An exquisite Ancient Roman bowl blown from translucent pale blue glass. The vessel features an unworked vertical rim leading down to a pronounced shoulder. Vertical ribbed bands decorate the sides, which are further enriched by two concentric lines running around the lower section of the body. The bowl curves inwards towards the base with a concave bottom and a projecting knob at the centre. Beautiful mother of pearl iridescent covers the body.

Date: 1st – 3rd Century AD
Provenance: Ex major S.M., London, Collection 1970-2010.
Condition: Very good condition. A stress crack to the body and few minor chips to the rim. Iridescence and weathering to the surface.


Glass bowls with such ribbed decoration have been produced since the Hellenistic period, from the 1st century BC into the first few decades of the 1st century AD. This bowl would have been formed by blowing a bubble of glass into a mould, creating the ribs on the vessel’s external surface and leaving extremely thin areas between the ribs. This fine hemispherical bowl displays hues of blue, the colour of Roman glass in its natural state, which resulted from the iron oxide present in the silica or the sand.

To find out more about Roman glass please see our relevant blog post: Ancient Roman Glass and Collecting Roman Glass.

Weight 133.9 g
Dimensions W 10.6 x H 6 cm



Reference: For a similar item, please see The Metropolitan Museum, item 17.194.185 and item 17.194.202

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