Roman Glass Flask with Janus Head

£ 1,750.00

A Roman flask depicting the Roman god, Janus, made of metallic green mould-blown glass. The vessel features a long, cylindrical neck; a flaring rounded lip; and a rounded body resembling two identical faces of youthful cherubs, their curly hair represented by raised blobs. The flask has been blown in a two-part mould: traces of the joining can be seen at the mid-way point, vertically, between the two faces.

Date: Circa 3rd century AD.
Provenance: Private Mayfair, London collection, SM.
Condition: Very fine, complete and intact. A few very minor and stable stress cracks to neck, and earthy accretions to the interior.


SKU: AS-3759 Category: Tag:

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.

According to Graeco-Roman mythology and culture, Janus was one of the oldest and most important divinities. He was the god of beginnings, and usually depicted with two faces, in order to look towards both the future and the past.

Weight 18.9 g
Dimensions H 8.1 cm

Roman Mythology