Ancient Roman Blue Glass Amphoriskos


An Ancient Roman vibrant blue glass amphoriskos with large areas of gold iridescence. The vessel features a globular body with a short stem and splayed foot. Above sits a cylindrical neck embellished with beautiful glass trailing. Two handles in the same vibrant blue have been applied to the shoulders, drawn up and slightly outwards, then pressed onto the neck with one slightly pinched at the side. Delicate vertical indented lines further embellish the body of the vessel.

Date: 1st – 3rd Century AD
Provenance: Ex major S.M., London, Collection 1970-2010.
Condition: Excellent condition.

In stock

Amphoriskoi are delicate small flasks with two handles used primarily to store oil and expensive perfume. They were small in size, made to fit comfortably in one’s hand. They differed slightly in their style to unguentaria which had a more practical purpose rather than decorative.

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 technique allowed for easier manipulation of the glass into more intricate designs with an assortment of functions. Glassblowing also allowed for a quicker paced production, the hot glass would be blown into a mould and then removed whilst still hot so that the glass maker could still work on it. Different minerals were added to create a variety of colours; the blue tint seen in this piece would have been created by adding cobalt oxide and copper oxide.

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

Weight 18 g
Dimensions W 5.1 x H 7.4 cm




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