Small Roman Glass Candlestick Unguentarium

£ 295.00

An ancient roman glass candlestick unguentarium, with iridescence predominantly on the top and at the bottom. The item is small in size, presenting a very squat body with rounded sloping sides from which departs a cylindrical neck, expanding slightly downwards. The neck terminates with a tubular rim folded out, pressed into broad, flaring mouth. The bottom is flat with concave center. There are earthy encrustations across the entire surface.

Date: 2nd - 3rd Century AD
Condition: Fine condition with earthy encrustations on the surface.

In stock

SKU: SB-019 Category: Tag:

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.

To find out more about Roman glass please see our relevant blog post: Collecting Roman Glass.

Weight 60.5 g
Dimensions H 8.2 cm



Reference: For a similar item, see The Metropolitan Museum, New York, item 74.51.5773

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