Unguentaria were amongst the most common objects of Roman blown glass: produced in large numbers, they were items of everyday use for keeping expensive perfumes and cosmetic oils. The small body and mouth were ideal for slow, careful pouring, while glass was preferred for holding liquids, due to its non-porous, non-absorbent nature. 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. 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.
Ancient Roman Glass Candlestick Unguentarium
An Ancient Roman pale blue glass Unguentarium featuring a flat, slightly concave base and a globular body leading to a narrow, long stemmed neck with an over-slayed tubular rim. Earthly encrustation and silver and mother of pearl iridescence is presented across the surface of the vessel.
Provenance: Ex major London collection collected by S.M. 1970-99.
Condition: Good condition.