Roman Blue Glass Cosmetic Tube


A Roman glass cosmetic tube in dark blue glass. It is tubular in shape, with smoothly-rounded interior and thick glass walls formed of heavily-twisted, opaque glass. It stands on a slightly rounded integral base.

Date: 5th - 6th Century AD
Condition: Fine condition except for the tip of one handle missing and chip to body.

In stock

SKU: AS-1431 Category: Tags: ,

The balsamarium is a variant of the typical Roman glass unguentarium. Produced in large numbers, they were items of every day use for holding and storing perfumed oils, as well as other expensive liquids and powders. The small body and mouth allowed the user carefully to pour and control the amount of liquid dispensed. By the 1st century AD, the technique of glass-blowing had revolutionised the art of glass-making, allowing for the production of small medicine, incense, and perfume containers in new forms. Glass was often the preferred material for storing oils because it was not porous. These small glass bottles are found 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 59.2 g
Dimensions H 11 cm



Reference: For a similar item, see:  tube 50.1558, page 147; Ancient Glass at the Newark Museum; Susan H. Auth / item 233; The Constable-Maxwell Collection of Ancient Glass; Sotheby's 1979.

You may also like…