Byzantine Aubergine Glass Jar


A fine Byzantine jar mould-blown from translucent aubergine coloured glass. The vessel features a globular body which tapers in at the neck which leads to a funnel-like, everted rim. The jar sits upon a concave base. The body is further enriched with geometric patterns in relief.

Date: Circa 5th – 8th century AD
Provenance: Ex S.M collection, London, acquired 1969-1999, thence by descent.
Condition: Very fine condition. Iridescence and encrustation visible to the surface.

In stock

SKU: LD-510 Category: Tags: ,

Small glass bottles, such as this fine example, were extremely popular throughout the Roman and Byzantine eras, since they contained perfume and oil, considered precious at the time and often used both in private life and public ceremonies. This type of vessels was probably used in funerary and burial rituals, hence their frequent occurrence in archaeological excavations of ancient cemeteries. Most of the Byzantine glass workshops were in Thessaloniki, a centre of production from the late Roman imperial period onwards.

Mould-blown glass was a sub-category with in blown glass which as a technique revolutionised the glass-making world during the first century AD. A mould would be manufactured from a hard substance such as metal, clay or wood. This allowed intricate designs to be produced across the glass as the design was already carved, ready for the hot glass to be blown into the mould. The mould itself would usually be in two parts to make it easier to open and remove the glass vessel. Once removed, the glass blower would then manipulate the piece while it was still hot with any extra desired features, for example, forming the handles. Glass makers would create several similar moulds, if they had been successful, and thus there are many vessels of these designs. As moulds were reused, some would shrink due to constantly being heated up. Consequently, the later centuries saw small shaped vessels.

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

Weight 56.5 g
Dimensions W 6.3 x H 6.9 cm




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