Roman Blue Glass Jar with Trail Decoration

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Object Description

An Ancient Roman glass jar, blown in pale blue colour. The vessel features a short, concave sided neck, opening into a wide, flared rim and two delicate applied glass handles, created using the ancient glassmaking technique of trail decoration. The body of the jar features some beautiful iridescence.

Glass was often the preferred material for storing expensive oils, perfumes, and medicines in antiquity because it was not porous. The small body and mouth allowed the user carefully to pour and control the amount of liquid dispensed. By the 1st century AD, the technique of glassblowing had revolutionised the art of glassmaking, allowing for the production of small medicine, incense, and perfume containers in new forms. These small glass vessels are found frequently at Hellenistic and Roman sites, especially in cemeteries, and the liquids that filled them would have been gathered from all corners of the expansive Roman Empire.

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.

Date: Circa 1st-3rd century AD

Object Condition

Very fine condition. There are some earthy encrustations around the bottom of the handles and the flat rim. The vessel features a high level of iridescence.

Object Details

  • material
  • dimensions
    W:5.5 x H:7.5 centimeters

Dealer Opening Times

By appointment only.

Dealer Contact

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+44 (0)208 364 4565
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Dealer Location

The Gallery
Trent Park Equestrian Centre
Eastpole Farm House, Bramley Road
Oakwood, N14 4UW, United Kingdom

St James's Ancient Art
10 Charles II Street, Ground Floor
St James
London
SW1Y 4AA