Selection of Fine Ancient Roman Small Glass Vessels

A selection of Ancient Roman clear blown glass unguentaria of varying sizes. Each glass features a larger, globular body leading to a short, cylindrical neck and upturned rim.

Date: 1st – 2nd Century AD
Provenance: Acquired from a London gentleman, formerly in a Swiss collection, acquired 1990s.
Condition: Fine Condition, small indentations and surface marks.
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Clear selection

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Glass was often the preferred material for storing expensive oils, perfumes, and medicines because it was not porous. The small body and mouth allowed the user to carefully pour and control the amount of liquid dispensed. 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, thus enabling the creation of small medicine, incense and perfume containers in new forms. These small glass bottles are found frequently at Hellenistic and Roman sites, especially in cemeteries, and the liquids 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: Collecting Roman Glass.

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Reference: For a similar item please see The Metropolitan Museum of Art, item 244666

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