ANCIENT ROMAN DOUBLE BALSAMARIUM
Measurements: 11.5 cm – height, 4.9 cm - width
Description: A dark yellow glass double balsamarium, the conjoined phials surmounted by two handles, one on either side. Handles and the trailing that decorates the body are a rich dark, blue glass contrasting with the rest of the body. Good areas of silver-gold iridescence also feature. Balsamaria were used for holding perfumes and oils, they are sometimes referred to as cosmetic tubes. This piece was decorated with the technique of trailed threading where molten glass threads in contrasting colours were wound onto the body of the hot vessel in a spiral. The yellow colour of the glass was achieved with the use of antimony or lead oxides, while the dark blue colour is a result of using cobalt. Dark blue colour was esteemed because it evoked semi-precious lapis lazuli.
Period: 2nd century AD
Reference: Christie’s sale 5487, lot 342; Christie’s sale 6060, lot 170.
Condition: Very fine, intact. Contrasting glass makes this a very attractive piece. Areas of encrustation and iridescence present.
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