Ancient Roman Glass Candlestick Unguentarium


A fine Roman candlestick unguentarium blown from translucent pale blue glass. The vessel displays a small domed body, widening towards the slightly concave base and a long, narrow cylindrical neck leading to a folded flat rim. Beautiful iridescence is visible from the inside including a deep blue colour towards the top. Earthly encrustation covers the surface.

Date: Circa 2nd-3rd Century AD
Condition: Very fine condition, some strain marks around the neck and a small chip to the rim.


SKU: LD-283 Category: Tag:

Unguentaria were amongst the most common objects of Roman blown glass: produced in large numbers, they were items of everyday use for keeping expensive unguents and cosmetic oils. By the 1st century AD, the technique of glass-blowing had revolutionised the art of glass-making. The new technique allowed craftsmen to use smaller amounts of glass for each vessel and obtain much thinner walls, so enabling the creation of small medicine, incense, and perfume containers in new forms. The small body and mouth allowed the user carefully to pour and control the amount of liquid dispensed, and glass was the material of choice for storing the oils because it was not porous. These small glass (or ceramic) 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 Ancient Roman glass please visit our relevant blog post: Ancient Roman Glass.

Weight 41.1 g
Dimensions W 5.3 x H 15.1 cm



Reference: For a similar item,The British Museum, item 1901,0413.3032

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