Small Roman Dark Glass Candlestick Unguentarium

£ 250.00

A delicate Roman candlestick unguentarium blown from dark almost entirely opaque glass. The vessel sits upon a slightly convex base and features a squat domed body that tapers in before leading to a long cylindrical neck and out-splayed folded rim. The dark glass reveals teal undertones in some areas, particularly around the rim, and is covered with beige speckling throughout, creating a beautiful natural pattern.

Date: Circa 1st-2nd Century AD
Condition: Very fine condition. Some areas of the vessel, particularly the base, are covered in earthly encrustations.
Product Code: RGS-78
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Unguentaria were amongst the most common objects of Roman blown glass, and among the unguentaria, candlestick unguentaria are among the most popular glass shapes recovered across the Roman Empire, especially used in funerary and burial rituals, hence their frequent occurrence in archaeological excavations of ancient cemeteries. Crafted in large numbers, they were items of everyday use, containing expensive unguents, cosmetic oils, powders, and other such products.

By the 1st century AD, the technique of glass-blowing had revolutionised the art of glass-making. The new technique allowed craftsmen to use smaller amounts of glass for each vessel and obtain much thinner walls, so enabling the creation of small medicine, incense, and perfume containers in new forms. The small body and long neck allowed the user carefully to pour and control the amount of liquid dispensed, and glass was the material of choice for storing the oils because it was not porous. These small glass bottles are found frequently at Hellenistic and Roman sites, especially in cemeteries, and the perfumes which filled them would have been gathered from all corners of the expansive Roman Empire.

Weight 15.9 g
Dimensions W 3.3 x H 16 cm

Southern Europe


Blown Glass

Reference: For a similar item, The British Museum, item 1856,1226.1225

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