A quite striking 'petrol blue' coloured Roman glass unguentarium vessel of traditional form, with bulbous lower body, elongated neck and out turned rim. Areas of silvery irridescence. The vessel is very well formed and the glass quite thick for an unguent and clear, so I would date it to the 1st or 2nd Century A.D.
The unusual colour probably gives away the purpose of this vessel, which was almost certainly perfume or medicine, given that lip?
Condition: Over all very good. As often a chipped rim but no other chips or cracks. Old collection number on foot.
Dimensions: Height 9.4cm.
Provenance: From the private collection of the late A.P. Fowler of Wimbledon, London, UK; thence by descent to his grandson and auctioned in 2020. The collection included documented items collected while Mr Fowler was in Italy during the early spring of 1951, indicating that he visited sites including Pompeii, Herculaneum and also Palermo in Sicily.
Glassblowing developed in the Syro-Palestinian region in the early first century B.C. and came to Rome with craftsmen and slaves after the area's annexation to the Roman world in 64 B.C. The new technology revolutionized the Roman glass industry, stimulating an enormous increase in the range of shapes and designs that could be produced. Glassworker's were no longer bound by the technical restrictions of the casting process. Blowing allowed for unparalleled versatility and speed of manufacture. These advantages spurred an evolution of style, form and experimentation, leading craftsmen to create unique shapes; examples of which include flasks and bottles shaped like human heads, fruits and animals.
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