Exceptional Roman Janus Head Glass Bottle


An extremely fine example of Ancient Roman glass, mould-blown in light green colour. The passing of time has left some dark silver iridescence to the glass’ surface. The glass features a round body resembling two identical plump-faced heads with dimpled chins and curly hair, represented by raised blobs, a short cylindrical neck and a flaring, folded rim. The flask has been blown in a two-part mould: traces of the joining can be seen at the mid-way point, vertically, between the two faces. he double-faced figure can be identified with Roman god Janus. According to Graeco-Roman mythology and culture, Janus was one of the oldest and most important divinities. He was the god of beginnings, and usually depicted with two faces, in order to look towards both the future and the past.

Date: Circa 1st-2nd Century AD
Provenance: Ex private collection, SM, London, 1970-1999.
Condition: Very fine, most of the item’s surface covered by beautiful iridescence.

In stock

SKU: CS-311 Category: Tags: ,

By the 1st century AD, the technique of glass-blowing had revolutionised the art of glass-making, allowing for the production of small medicine, incense, and perfume containers in new forms. The small body and mouth allowed the user carefully to pour and control the amount of liquid dispensed, and glass was the material of choice for storing the oils because it was not porous. These small glass bottles are found frequently at Hellenistic and Roman sites, especially in cemeteries, and the perfumes which filled them would have been gathered from all corners of the expansive Roman Empire.

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

Weight 65 g
Dimensions H 8 cm



Roman Mythology

Reference: For a similar item, The British Museum, item number 91528

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