Roman Pale Green Glass Unguentarium


An ancient Roman unguentarium made from a pale green glass, and featuring a long pyriform-shaped body, which leads to a narrow neck and folded rim. The base of the unguentarium is rounded. The vessel is mounted on a custom-made stand.

Date: 1st - 2nd Century AD
Condition: Fine condition with some signs of aging on the surface. Some areas of iridescence and encrustation.


SKU: PM-63 Category: Tags: , ,

Unguentaria were amongst the most common objects of Roman blown glass: produced in large numbers, they were items of every day 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, allowing for the production 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.

The iridescence on ancient Roman glass was unintentional, and was caused by weathering on its surface. The extent to which a glass object weathers depends mainly on the burial conditions; however, the humidity, heat, and type of soil in which the glass was buried also all affect its preservation.

Weight 41.9 g
Dimensions L 12 cm