Ancient Roman Double Balsamarium with Trail Decoration


A finely blown Ancient Roman pale blue glass double balsamarium, composed of two co-joined tubular phials. The piece features small ribbon handles, one applied to each side, extending from the glass’ body to the rim. The balsamarium is further enriched by an applied glass trail decoration. A thick brown iridescent encrustation covers the majority of the glass’ surface.

Date: Circa 1st-3rd century AD
Condition: Fine, with original glass trailing still visible, encrustations to the surface. Mounted on a custom-made stand.

In stock

SKU: LD-149 Category: Tags: ,

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.

Weight 38.4 g
Dimensions W 4.7 x H 11.3 cm



Reference: For a similar item, The Metropolitan Museum, item 17.194.330.

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