Roman Emerald-Green Glass Unguentarium

£ 295.00

A stunning, ancient Roman unguentarium, formed of a deep, emerald-green, blown glass. The vessel has a wide flat rim, extended cylindrical neck, and a flared-out body with a flat base. The vessel has a double-bodied structure with thick walls. The vessel showcases areas of rainbow iridescence over the exterior and interior, particularly around the base and the rim. The glass has a textured surface with pinprick bubble areas around the base. The glass despite its deep vivid colour is translucent.

Date: Circa 3rd - 4th century AD
Provenance: Ex SM collection, London 1970-2010.
Condition: Very fine condition. Intact. Earthly encrustations and iridescence cover the surface. Textured exterior.


Product Code: RGS-73
Categories: , Tags: ,

Unguentaria were amongst the most common objects of Roman blown glass: produced in large numbers, they were items of everyday use for keeping expensive unguents and cosmetic oils. By the 1st century AD, the technique of glass-blowing had revolutionised the art of glass-making. By the 1st century AD, the technique of glass-blowing had revolutionised the art of glass-making, allowing for the production of small medicine, incense, and perfume containers in new forms. Glass vessels are found frequently at Hellenistic and Roman sites, especially in cemeteries, and the liquids, which filled them, would have been gathered from all corners of the expansive Roman Empire. Vessels such as this example were particularly popular in Roman Egypt.

To discover more about the types and uses of unguentaria, please visit our relevant blog post: Roman Glass: Unguentaria and Cosmetics.

Weight 103.9 g
Dimensions W 4.3 x H 8.1 cm

Blown Glass


Southern Europe

Reference: For a similar item, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, item 91.1.1316

You may also like…