Ancient Roman Glass Double Balsamarium with Applied Handles


A fine Ancient Roman double balsarium in pale blue glass, decorated by an applied glass trail decoration. The vessel is composed of two conjoined tubular phials with slightly flared and thickened rims. Two applied handles further enrich the balsarium, stretching from its body and folding onto the rim. An additional basket-handle features at the top, marked by deep grooves. A beautiful iridescence and some encrustation cover the vessel.

Date: Circa 3rd -4th Century AD
Provenance: Ex. Japanese private collection, London, acquired 1970-2010.
Condition: Good Condition


SKU: SA-04 Category: Tags: , ,

Balsamaria, a variant of the typical Roman glass unguentarium, were items of everyday use for holding and storing perfumed oils, as well as other expensive liquids and powders. 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. by the 1st century AD, the technique of glass-blowing had revolutionised the art of glass-making, allowing for the production of containers in new forms. These small glass bottles are fond 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 71.6 g
Dimensions L 15.6 cm



Reference: For similar item, please see The Museum of Fine Arts Boston, item 61.1439

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