Balsamaria were small bottles, used as containers for ointments, powders, balms, and other liquids associated with the toilet, especially perfumes: the small mouth of the two flasks are ideal for slow, careful pouring, while glass was preferred for holding liquids, due to its non-porous, non-absorbent nature. Balsamaria were made through the glass blowing process, which involved using a hollow clay or metal tube to gather molten glass into a sphere. By blowing air inside it, the glass worker created a hollow sphere, which would have been then stretched with the aid of gravity and metal tools into an elongated tube. Lines can be seen on the handles: these were created when the glass worker stretched the glass with tweezers.
To discover more about glass wares used to store cosmetics and ointments, please visit our relevant blog post: Roman Glass: Unguentaria and Cosmetics.