Balsamaria were small glass bottles, used as containers for ointments, powders, balms, and other liquids associated with the toilet, especially perfumes: the small mouth of the two flasks are ideal for slow, careful pouring, while glass was preferred for holding liquids, due to its non-porous, non-absorbent nature. Balsamaria were made through the glass blowing process, which involved using a hollow clay or metal tube to gather molten glass into a sphere. By blowing air inside it, the glass worker created a hollow sphere, which would have been then stretched with the aid of gravity and metal tools into an elongated tube. The deep lines seen on the glass’ handles would have been created when the glass worker stretched the glass with tweezers.
To find out more about Ancient Roman glass please visit our relevant blog post: Ancient Roman Glass.