Rare Large Roman Glass Perfume Bottle 2nd - 4th century CE

£950.00 $1,204.89 Product Code: 2023120701

Technical Description 

A rare form of ancient Roman glass perfume bottle/vial produced sometime between the years 201 - 400 AD. The glass material is of a translucent amber hue. Free-blown and tooled, the vessel has an inverted baluster body with a constriction made to the base of the cylindrical neck, this leads to a thick flaring rim that has been folded inwards. The shape may be found referred to simply as a baluster or piriform.

 

Examples of this shouldered form are rare and the overall definition of this vessel's shape is the best of its kind. This particular example stands out amongst its peers due to its constricted and elongated neck. The majority slope gently from the shoulder, have a shorter neck, or are generally not so well defined which leads to a more ‘spindle’ or ‘fusiform’ shaped vessel. You may find this form noted as an unguentarium, a bottle, a flask or a vial.

Date & Origin 

Roman, Early Imperial Period, 1st century CE. Eastern Mediterranean.

Condition

Excellent, Intact. Weathering and naturally flaking encrustation, stunning patches of iridescence to the surface.

Dimensions

Height: 16 cm
Diameter: 5 cm

Historical Context

An unguentarium, also referred to as Balsamarium, Lacrimarium or tears vessel, is a small ceramic or glass bottle found frequently by archaeologists at Hellenistic and Roman sites. This amphoriskos-type form is reminiscent of the earlier Hellenistic Greek era’s shouldered-unguentarium as seen here: https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/G_1982-0729-349 

Documented Examples

Art Institute of Chicago Exhibit: https://www.artic.edu/artworks/59712/flask

Excavated from the monastery of St. Barnabus on Cyprus: https://users.stlcc.edu/mfuller/BarnabusGlass.html

 

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