Roman Pale Blue with Iridescence Glass Unguentarium


A Roman Unguentarium blown from translucent pale blue glass featuring a long cylindrical neck leading to a piriform shaped body. To the top is an everted rim folded over and the base is flattened and slightly concave in the centre. Beautiful mother of pearl iridescence can be seen across the surface along with earthly encrustation.

Date: Circa 2nd-3rd century AD
Condition: Very fine condition, minor hairline crack to the base and lower body.


SKU: LD-386 Category: Tags: ,

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 Roman glass, please see our relevant blog post: Ancient Roman Glass and Collecting Roman Glass.

Weight 16.5 g
Dimensions W 2.7 x H 7.7 cm



Reference: For a similar item,The British Museum, item 1901.,0413.3010

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