Ancient Roman Pale Blue Glass Jug


An Ancient Roman jug made from pale blue glass, with bright iridescence covering the majority of its surface. The vessel stands on a slightly concave base, leading to a globular body from which a single handle, in the same pale blue glass, was drawn up and outwards to the rim. A relatively short cylindrical neck raises from the flat shoulder and opens at the the top into a large mouth with a wide flat rim. Iridescence, weathering and some earthy encrustations remain across the surface.

Date: Circa 2nd - 3rd century AD
Provenance: From a Surrey gentleman's collection (D.G.), purchased on the London Art market from ADA member, 1990s - onwards; previously with John Cummings Ltd.
Condition: Very good condition. A hairline crack runs across the body. Iridescence and some earthy encrustations remain on the surface.


SKU: MG-267 Category: Tags: , ,

Glass production evolved during the Roman Empire with the introduction of glassblowing, which allowed for a great variety of different shapes and styles to be constructed. The technique allowed for easier manipulation of the glass into more intricate designs allowing the vessels to have an assortment of functions. Glassblowing also allowed for a quicker paced production, the hot glass would be blown into a mould and then removed whilst still hot so that the glass maker could still work on it. Different minerals were added to create a variety of colours; the blue tint seen in this piece would have been created by adding cobalt oxide and copper oxide. 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 in also all affect its preservation.

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

Weight 54 g
Dimensions W 8.5 x H 11.9 cm




Reference: For a similar item, please see The Metropolitan Museum, item 74.51.138

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