Ancient Roman Glass Double Balsamarium


A finely blown Ancient Roman pale blue translucent glass double balsamarium, composed of two co-joined tubular phials. The piece features dark-blue ribbon handles, one applied to each side, extending from the glass’ body to the rim, and a further single dark-blue basket handle joining each side of the rim. The balsamarium is further enriched by an applied dark-blue glass trail decoration.

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


SKU: LD-148 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 74.3 g
Dimensions W 6.5 x H 15.6 cm



Reference: For a similar item, The Metropolitan Museum, item X.21.176.

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