Roman Iridescence Jar


A delicate Roman jar blown from translucent glass featuring a globular body perched on a slightly concave base. The shoulders slope inwards creating a short cylindrical neck leading to an outward splayed mouth with a folded rim. Beautiful mother of pearl iridescence covers the whole surface along with black encrustation.

Date: Circa 2nd-3rd century AD
Condition: Excellent condition. Slight scratch to base, small pontil mark to the base.


SKU: LD-342 Category: Tags: ,

Glass was often the preferred material for storing expensive oils, perfumes, and medicines in antiquity 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 vessels 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; the humidity, heat, and type of soil in which the glass was buried all affect its preservation.

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

Weight 16.1 g
Dimensions W 4.2 x H 4.4 cm



Reference: For a similar item,The British Museum, item 1894,1101.336