Large Aqua Glass Jug


A fine Roman translucent aqua glass jug featuring a globular body. The shoulders taper in to a cylindrical neck leading to a folded collared rim. A wide handle has been applied below the rim to the shoulder. It extends out horizontally and then is turned down vertically to the shoulder. The jug sits upon a slightly concave base which displays a sticker of the previous owner. The body is enriched with incised wheel cut horizontal bands; beautiful iridescence is visible to the surface.

Date: Circa mid 1st-2nd Century AD
Provenance: Auktionshaus Dr. Hüll, Cologne, Germany, 10th September 2015, lot 449 acquired by The Nico F. Bijnsdorp Collection
Condition: Very fine condition, slight hairline crack below the handle.


This beautiful piece shows its original translucency: 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.

Many items of ancient glassware were designed for tableware use, in particular for carrying and serving water and wine at banquets. Bottles and jugs were one of the most frequently used containers, and existed in different dimensions and shapes. This variety was allowed by the technique of glass-blowing, which had revolutionised the art of glass-making by the first century AD. The aqua tint seen in this piece would have been created by adding iron(II) oxide.

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

Weight 299 g
Dimensions W 13.5 x H 19.6 cm



Reference: For a similar item,The Metropolitan Museum, item 17.194.87

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