Ancient Roman Yellow Glass Jug with Trefoil Rim and Trailing Decorations


An exquisite Ancient Roman jug blown from translucent yellow glass. The vessel stands on a splayed foot from which its delicate body rises into a bulbous shape and tapers into a slender cylindrical neck. Parts of a trailing decoration in the same hue of yellow remain on the neck and below the flared mouth. The thin rim has been folded into a decorative trefoil shape which would have allowed for easy pouring. A single ribbon handle is drawn up from the shoulder, then folded below the mouth and pressed onto the rim for ease of use.

Date: Circa early 3rd Century AD
Condition: Very fine condition. Some weathering to the surface.

In stock

Many items of ancient glassware were designed for tableware use, in particular for carrying and serving water and wine at banquets. Jugs, like this fine example, were one of the most frequently used containers, and existed in different dimensions and shapes.

The variety of shapes and sizes seen in ancient glassware was achieved through the technique of glassblowing, which by the 1st century AD had revolutionised the art of glassmaking. It allowed for easier manipulation of the glass, but also for a quicker paced production, as 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 yellow tint seen in this piece would have been created by adding lead and changing the oxygen levels. 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 Roman glass please see our relevant blog post: Ancient Roman Glass and Collecting Roman Glass.

Weight 43.5 g
Dimensions W 6.5 x H 11.1 cm




Reference: For a similar item, please see The Royal Ontario Museum, item 952.10.15

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