Roman Double Flask Glass Balsamarium

£ 350.00

A finely blown Ancient Roman pale green glass double balsamarium, composed of two co-joined tubular phials. It presents two small handles on each sides joining to the rim and forming a sharp angle. The body widens slightly towards the base, and is decorated with a thin applied spiral trail. The balsamarium presents earthly encrustations on the outer and inner surface, and a stable stress crack on the body.

The object comes with a purpose-made stand to facilitate display.

Date: 4th Century AD
Condition: Very fine condition, a stable stress crack on one side and patches of earthy encrustations


SKU: AS-3346 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.

The iridescence on ancient Roman glass was unintentional, and was caused by weathering on its surface. The extent to which a glass object weathers depends mainly on the burial conditions; however, the humidity, heat, and type of soil in which the glass was buried also all affect its preservation.

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 Similar: The Metropolitan Museum, New York, item 17.194.330

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