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. 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 to carefully pour and control the amount of liquid dispensed, glass was the favoured material 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.
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.