Roman Segmented Glass Unguentarium

£ 295.00

An elegant ancient Roman candlestick style unguentarium blown from a delicate pale blue glass. The body is formed by two short globular segments which extend into a long, elegant, cylindrical neck, topped by a flared, outward-folded rim. The base is flattened but slightly concave at the centre. Whilst the exterior of the vessel is free from texture and weathering, the interior contains some light grey residue and loose sediment, and a dark iridescent patina coats parts of the upper body segment and lower neck. The glass itself is translucent and showcases a very slight rainbow iridescence in some areas
The lovely light blue ‘aqua’ colouring is characteristic of natural untreated glass and is commonplace amongst early Roman examples. It is a result of iron (II) oxide present within the composition.

Date: Circa 1st-3rd century AD
Provenance: From the important collection of a professional by descent, bought London and Europe 1970-90's
Condition: Very Fine. Intact with some earthly encrustations
Product Code: RGS-70
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The Romans frequently utilised the functional and decorative capabilities of glass to produce a wide array of objects. Unguentarium, such as this example, were used as containers for ointments, powders, balms, and other expensive liquids such as 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.

To learn more about Roman glass, visit our relevant post: How It Was Made: Roman Glass.

Weight 32.9 g
Dimensions W 3.1 x H 14.3 cm

Blown Glass


Southern Europe

Reference: For similar reverse: The British Museum, London, item 1868,0501.309

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