Roman Two-Handled Glass Amphoriskos

$2,485.46

A Roman translucent purple coloured glass amphoriskos, with applied handles in pale green glass. Featuring a large, conical body with a flaring foot. Pinched in at the shoulders, the flask features a cylindrical neck with a folded rim. The two handles have been applied from the neck to the shoulders. Large areas of attractive iridescence cover the entire piece.

Date: Circa 1st - 3rd century AD
Provenance: Private Israel collection, SM. Israeli export license for the glass collection.
Condition: Excellent. Beautiful iridescence.

In stock

Amphoriskoi were delicate flasks used primarily to store oil and expensive perfume. They were small in size, made to fit comfortably in one’s hand and delicate in nature. They differed slightly in their style to unguentaria which had a more practical purpose, rather than decorative.

Glass was often the preferred material for storing expensive oils, perfumes, and medicines because it was not porous. 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. These small glass bottles are found frequently at Hellenistic and Roman sites, especially in cemeteries, and the liquids 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 101.2 g
Dimensions W 7 x H 15 cm
Culture

Glass

Region

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