This is the third vessel from this Roman glass collection and unusually it still contains the remains of its contents and soil inside. A great opportunity if you want to do a little excavation! A lovely clear aqua blue Roman glass unguentarium vessel with a globular body and out-turned lip. Circa 1st - 2nd century A.D.
The collection represented one inhumation and this vessel would have contained perfumes and oils for the deceased (probably female). The glass is clear and the vessel well-formed. A nice example.
Condition: Complete. Little stable crack at lip, otherwise intact. Iridescent colours.
Provenance: Ex. private collection, Essex, UK. This vessel was part of a collection of Roman glass antiquities, including item 32, aquired in the early 20th century and remained in the same family for 3 generations.
Unguentaria are a type of Roman bottle made of free-blown glass. They were produced in large numbers across the Roman Empire and since they contained valuable liquids, were considered precious at the time and used both in private life and public ceremonies. They are frequent finds in archaeological contexts particularly in Roman cemeteries. 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. In this case, the glass has preserved its original translucency.
Glass bottles were the preferred material for storing expensive liquids and medicines because they were non porous. The shaped body and mouth allowed the user to carefully pour and control the amount of liquid dispensed. By the 1st century AD, the technique of glass-blowing had revolutionised the art of glass-making, allowing for the production of small medicine, incense, and perfume containers in new forms. The liquids which filled these vessels would have come from all corners of the Roman Empire. This example has a nice shape with excellent clarity to the glass. A lovely piece.
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