The Romans were some of the earliest manipulators of glass, developing glass blowing techniques and using these pieces for cosmetics, dining and ceremonies. From around 70AD it was this clear glass that was used for the finest pieces and seen as the most exclusive and expensive. However, pattern and deep colours like this blue showed skilled so was still valued highly.

A flask like this was likely used for holding a wealthy Roman’s cosmetics or medicines.

In stock


100-300 AD. Roman. Dark blue unguentarium with flaring rim, elongated neck and globular body. The deep blue colour of this glass is both beautiful and rare in Roman glassmaking; the lighter blue streaks are part of a patina which only serves to increase the striking effect of this remarkable piece. Glass was a major manufacturing industry in the Roman Empire, especially after the invention of glassblowing in the middle of the first century BC, when glass became used for a variety of purposes including vessels, jewellery and construction materials such as glass or tiles. Roman glassmaking reached the farthest corners of the Empire and flourished until about 400 AD, when the Roman Empire started to disintegrate, finally falling in the late 5th century AD. Vessels like this would probably have been used for perfumes, oils (used as soap) and/or medicines in antiquity. Good condition.

Size: L:83mm / W:53mm ; 35g

Provenance: Private Kent collection, formed in the 1980s on the UK art market.

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