As in the modern day, glassware in antiquity was considered an art form, with the best pieces being valued higher than wares made from precious metals. Glass bottles, such as this interesting example, were used as containers for ointments, powders, balms, and other expensive toiletry liquids, especially perfumes: the small mouth of the bottle is ideal for slow, careful pouring, while glass was preferred for holding liquids, due to its non-porous, non-absorbent nature. 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. Thanks to the invention of glass blowing it became possible to create moulds in order to mass-produce popular designs. Unusual shapes, like this example, experienced great popularity.
Iridescent Roman Glass Miniature Jug Pendant
A lovely and unusual glass pendant created in the shape of a jug. Originally crafted in vivid yellow glass with fretwork pattern and handle of trailed glass, the jug now displays striking patches of brilliant iridescence due to weathering and age, testament to the object’s ancient origins and prolonged burial in the soil. Pendants like this were added to various jewellery pieces, and this example could be suspended through the handle.
Provenance: Ex SM, Mayfair London collection 1970-99, thence by descent.
Condition: Very fine. Beautiful silvery iridescence covers the item.