ANCIENT ROMAN GLASS BOWL

S O L D

Measurements: 10.6 cm − width, 5.6 cm − height

 

Description: A translucent Roman blown glass bowl with attractive iridescence over the whole. From an upright rounded rim, the straight sides of the bowl slope sharply in towards the pushed-in base with a rounded dome. A horizontal wheel-cut band runs around the bowl's middle. This alluring bowl shows hues of green and blue iridescence. The word iridescence comes from Iris, the Greek goddess of rainbows and refers to rainbow-like colours seen on glass. It is caused by alkali being leached from the glass by acidic water and then forming fine layers that eventually separate slightly or flake off, causing a prism effect on light bouncing off and passing through the surface which reflects light differently, resulting in a rainbow-like appearance such as the one on this bowl. Although the shape is simple, the passage of time has provided the bowl with a radiant and consistent iridescence over the whole. The Roman glass industry developed to full maturity over a couple of generations during the first half of the first century AD. The establishment of this industry coincided with the invention of glassblowing. This revolutionised ancient glass production, allowing craftsmen to make a much greater variety of shapes than before.

 

Reference: Bonhams sale 10763, lot 141.

 

Period: 1st - 2nd century AD

 

Condition: Very fine, intact, with an attractive iridescence and earthy encrustations over the whole.

 

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