Ancient Roman Ochre Double Balsamarium


A finely blown Ancient Roman ochre coloured glass double balsamarium, composed of two co-joined tubular phials. Each have thick folded rims and slightly extend out at the base. The vessel features a small handle, drawn and tooled to each side, extending from the rim to the body. Some air pockets can be seen across the body, which were formed from trapped air during the manufacturing process.

Date: Circa 4th century AD
Provenance: Ex Abelita family collection, acquired 1980-2015.
Condition: Fine condition, minor chip to rim and small crack to the neck. Earthly encrustation to the surface.

In stock

SKU: LD-548 Category:

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 Roman glass please see our relevant blog post: Ancient Glass and Collecting Roman Glass.


Weight 56.2 g
Dimensions W 5.5 x H 9.8 cm




Reference: For a similar item,The Metropolitan Museum, item X.21.161

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