A beautiful Ancient Roman glass alabastron, finely blown in yellow coloured glass. The vessel features a globular body with a slightly dimpled base and a short neck with an everted rim. The design of the vessel is enriched by the addition of applied pale turquoise handles. The yellow colour of the glass was achieved by adding lead to the molten glass. The passing of time has left some delicate iridescence to the glass’ surface.
Date: 1st-2nd century AD Provenance: Acquired 1980-2015.Ex Abelita family collection. Condition: Fine condition, with some cracks around one of the handles and earthly encrustation to surface.
Glass was often the preferred material for storing expensive oils, perfumes, and medicines in antiquity because it was not porous. The small body and mouth allowed the user to carefully pour and control the amount of liquid dispensed. An alabastron is a container for perfumed oil that takes its name from alabaster, the material from which the original Egyptian examples were made. Greek (and subsequently Roman) artists adopted the Egyptian alabastron’s shape in the 600s B.C. but made the vessel in a variety of materials. 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.