Ancient Roman Glass Flask with Tooling


An Ancient Roman flask blown from green glass featuring a concave base, a squat body with straight sides and a curved shoulder leading to a broad flaring neck with a folded rim. The neck is enriched with horizontal concentric tooling forming a ribbed effect. Beautiful iridescence covers the surface along with earthly encrustation.

Date: Circa 3rd- 5th century AD
Provenance: From a Surrey gentleman's collection (DG), purchased on the London Art market from an ADA member, formed 1990's onwards.
Condition: Excellent condition. Beautiful iridescence to the surface.


SKU: AG-50 Category: Tags: ,

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 carefully to 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, allowing for the production 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.

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. Some of the iridescent coating on this flask has come away, revealing a shiny, almost pearl-like colour to the piece.

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

Weight 42 g
Dimensions L 9.5 x W 5.5 cm




Reference: For a similar item,Bonhams, London, 30 September 2014, lot 284

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