Roman Yellow Glass Jug with Trefoil Rim and Trail Decoration


An ancient Roman jug blown from translucent yellow glass. The vessel features a rounded cuboid body which sits upon a concave base. The shoulders taper into a long cylindrical neck with a wide out-splayed rim that has been folded into a decorative trefoil shape. This design was used for better control over the distribution of liquids that it contained. The outside of the rim and the neck are decorated with a fine trailing. Green trailing has been applied around the body in a zig-zag pattern with three horizontal bands above. A single yellow handle has been applied from the rim to the shoulder. Iridescence is visible to the surface.

Date: Circa 3rd-4th century AD
Provenance: Ex S.M. Collection, formed 1970 - 1999
Condition: Repaired with cracks visible across the vessel. Some loss of trailing. Beautiful iridescence 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 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 45.7 g
Dimensions W 5 x H 11 cm




Reference: For a similar item,Royal Ontario Museum, item 952.10.15

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