An elegant Roman unguentarium blown from pale blue glass most likely used as a perfume bottle. The vessel features a flattened rim and a narrow cylindrical neck which slightly curves outwards towards the body, ending in a flat base. Colourful iridescence covers the whole surface from the inside along with earth encrustation. The Unguentarium is mounted on a custom-made black stand.
Date: Circa 1st century AD Condition: Excellent condition. 13.4cm height including the stand.
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.
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