Ancient Roman Aubergine Glass Jug


A very fine ancient Roman jug blown from dark aubergine glass. The vessel features a cylindrical body decorated with vertical ribbing, sat upon a flat base. The shoulders taper into a smooth cylindrical neck with a wide slightly ellipsoid mouth. A single handle has been drawn and tooled and applied from the rim to the shoulder. Beautiful multi-colour iridescence is visible across the body.

Please check measurements provided.

Date: Circa 4th-5th century AD
Provenance: Ex J.L collection, Surrey. Previously ex S.M. collection, London, 1970-2010
Condition: Excellent condition. Beautiful iridescence to the surface. A small chip to the rim that probably resulted from an air bubble in the glass

In stock

SKU: SK-130 Category: Tags: ,

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 purple tint seen in this piece would have been created by adding manganese. A large part of ancient glassworks were designed for tableware use, in particular for carrying, serving and drinking water and wine at banquets.

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 32.53 g
Dimensions L 3.7 x W 4.5 x H 9.9 cm




Reference: For a similar item, Bonhams, Antiquities auction, 5th July 2018, lot 174

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