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.
Roman Tall Pale Blue Unguentarium
An Ancient Roman unguentarium, made of glass in a pale blue tint. The long thin neck of the bottle leads up to a wide rim, and down to a squat, bulbous body. The base is slightly concave in the centre, and some of the interior and exterior are encrusted with earth. This is a rare example of an unguentarium due to its height, which measures over 15 cm. The likelihood that this neck stayed intact over the centuries makes the bottle even more special.
Condition: Good condition. Some earthly encrustations along the exterior.