Ancient Roman Green Glass Lentoid Flask

£ 2,500.00

An ancient Roman pilgrim flask, finely blown in pale green translucent glass. The vessel features an everted rim, folded over and in, which has been flattened, forming a slight constriction to the mouth. This is followed by a cylindrical neck with tooled indents tapering in at the shoulder. The upper body expands downwards to a flat spherical lentoid body with rounded edges and a thick internal pad on the bottom. Delicate bubbles are suspended in the translucent glass from the blowing process.

The flask is accompanied with a custom-made stand.

Date: Circa 4th Century AD
Provenance: French collection, 1960s-early 2000s. From an important Paris gallery, France.
Condition: Fine condition. Early encrustations and iridescence to the interior. Some minor scratches to the exterior. Weighs 252g without the stand.

In stock

SKU: CY-27 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 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, 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. Most likely they were used as personal scent bottles, carrying expensive perfumes. Different minerals were added to create a variety of colours; the pale green tint seen in this piece would have been created by adding copper.

Iridescence is often used to date the glass, as it is a consequence of the natural ageing process.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 Ancient Roman glass please visit our relevant blog post: Ancient Glass.

Weight 481.5 g
Dimensions L 22 x W 15 cm



Reference: For a similar shape, The Metropolitan Museum, New York, item 74.51.68

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