Ancient Roman Opaque White Glass Patella


An ancient Roman vessel blown from opaque white glass featuring a cylindrical body, perched on a wide, slightly concave foot. The shoulder splays outwards leading to a thick trumpet-style rim that gently curls upwards. Earthly encrustation is visible across the surface. A patella was a diminutive name fore a patera bowl, used for drinking or ceremonially.

Date: Circa 1st - 2nd Century AD
Provenance: Ex SM collection, London 1970-1999.
Condition: Very fine condition, with earthly encrustations to the surface. Repaired.

In stock

SKU: SM-17 Category:

Glass production evolved during the Roman Empire with the introduction of glassblowing, which allowed for a great variety of different shapes and styles to be constructed. The migration of skilled people in glass-working paired with the quick paced production enabled the rapid spread of glassblowing techniques across the empire. An assortment of intricate designs in different shapes and sizes allowed for a variety of vessels with different functions. Different colours were employed through adding various chemicals; the cream colour achieved here is a result of adding antimony from the mineral stibnite. As a non-porous material, small glass items were preferred for storing expensive oils, perfumes and medicines, the likely purpose of this vessel, whilst larger vessels would be files with drinking liquids and placed on tables.

Antimony, the chemical metalloid, was added to glass and would react with the lime to form calcium antimonite crystals, creating a beautiful opaque white colour.

To find out more about Roman Glass, see the blog post: Collecting Guide, Ancient Roman Glass

Weight 32.5 g
Dimensions L 6.4 x W 6.4 x H 3 cm



Reference: For Similar: The Princeton University Art Museum, NJ, USA, item y1945-225

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