RHYTON of Nico F. Bijnsdorp
Late 3rd – mid 4th century AD. Rhineland, probably Cologne.
L = 32.5 cm. H = 26.5 cm. D rim = 7.8 cm. Weight 175 gr.
Classification: Morin-Jean 1913: Form 124. Isings 1957: Form 113. Goethert-Polaschek1977: Form 165.
Condition: Broken and mended.
Technique: Free blown and tooled. Thread decoration applied.
Description: Transparent pale green glass with turquoise and opaque white threads. Slightly averted mouth with thickened and rounded rim. The S-form body evenly tapering to the closed tip. At approx. 4 cm below the rim a horizontal opaque white thread is encircling the body. From there 7 turquoise and 10 opaque white threads run in a spiral downwards from upper left to lower right throughout the body to the tip. Upper part of threads unmarvered.
Remarks: Rhytons or drinking horns were made with either an open or closed tip. The drinker held the open-tip rhyton in his raised hand and poured the liquid into his mouth through the open tip. The closed-tip rhyton was used like a beaker. The latter way of pouring is shown on the Worringen beaker in the Toledo Museum of Art in an engraved scene wherein Bacchus pours wine from a rhyton like this one into a shallow bowl held by a partly draped woman, probably Venus.
This type of rhyton is a typical Rhenish product. Most examples are in museum collections in Cologne, Trier, Bonn, Strasbourg, Worms and Mainz but were further spread into France, Scandinavia and the Baltic states. Very close parallels are in the collections of the Swedish Museum of National Antiquities (from a grave of a high ranked warrior in Östergötland) and of the Danish National Museum (from a grave of the “Woman from Himlingøje”).
Provenance: Collection David and Jennifer Giles, London, UK., Collection W. Bastiaan Blok, Noordwijk, Netherlands.
Published: Pierre Bergé Paris, 17 June 2010, No. 258D.
References: Corning Museum of Glass, Accession number 2004.1.13. Fremersdorf 1984, Rheinisches Landesmuseum Bonn, No. 265. Fremersdorf 1962, Römisch-Germanisches Museum Köln, Tafel 92. Fremersdorf 1961, Rheinisches Landesmuseum Bonn, Tafel 42 – 43. Follmann-Schulz 1992, Rheinisches Landesmuseum Bonn, Nos. 34 – 35. Goethert-Polaschek 1977, Rheinisches Landesmuseum Trier, No. 1542.
This is a process of applying hot trails of glass onto the body of a vessel for decoration, to form a handle or to create a foot. A very thin trail is called a thread and thick trails are coils. Trails can be a contrasting color or the same color as the object. The technique started in the ancient period and is still used today.
The following examples from the Allaire Collection illustrate glass objects with trailing. Click on the photo to enlarge.
ROMAN GLASS BOTTLE WITH DOLPHIN HANDLES
Second half of the 3rd. century A.D. Cologne or Rhineland. Isings : form 100A .
H: 19.8 cm D- body: 7.6 cm D-mouth: 2.4 cm.
Technique : Blown into a cylindrical mold; body sloping slightly inwards; cylindrical neck; knocked-off rim, rounded; shoulder slightly sloping; in mold blown standing ring with central concave part; no pontil mark; wheel-cut lines.
Description : Roman bottle with dolphin handles of semi-translucent light yellow colored glass almost opalescent; handles applied with central holes close to the neck and shoulder: five bands of wheel-cut lines divided into pairs of 3-2-3-2-3, from shoulder to base.
Condition : Unrestored and complete, with circular crack on the body near the shoulder, the four parts, big and small, in place and stable; traces of wear all over body and base; almost no iridescence; isolated small bubbles.
Remarks: Said to have been found in the province of Limburg, the Netherlands. Most likely produced in Cologne or Rhineland. The dolphin-shaped handles are of a strongly shaped abstract form indicating a date in the second half of the 3rd. century A.D. Several examples in the same size from Cologne (RGM), Germany, Nijmegen (Museum Het Valkhof) and Leiden (MvOL), the Netherlands. About the color, Kisa (1906) in general speaks of: ‘Wachsgelb’ or ‘Buttergelb’ (wax-yellow or butter-yellow.) indicating the use of semi-opaque yellow, also in connection to ‘Schlangenfadenglass’ (snake thread glass).
Provenance : From a private dutch collection.
Reference: Kisa 1906: Formentafel C 158; Morin-Jean 1913: forme 10A; Isings : form 100A , Boeselager 2012: form 54.
Literature: Niessen 1911, 40 no. 399, pl 33; Doppelfeld 1966, 46-7 pl. 63; Fremersdorf and Polonyi 1984, 92, no 204. D. Whitehouse: Glass of the Ceasars, no 111., from the collection of RGM, p 202. D. Von Boeselager, Koelner Jahrbuch 45, 2012, p 7-526.
CARROT SHAPED PITCHER
1st. half of 4th. century A.D. H: 13.65 cm W: Rim: 3.85 / 3.00 cm D: shoulder 4,05 cm
Technique: Free blown body; mouth out-splayed and pinched to form trefoil; rounded rim; handle drawn up from shoulder to the rim, small amount of excess glass drawn back and pushed under the rim.
Description: Carrot shaped oinochoé with thin wall; attached handle; made of translucent greenish white glass; some silvery iridescence; light weathering; sandy encrustation,
Condition: Broken and repaired with some small proportion missing.
Remarks: ‘Pitchers of this kind appear to be scarce’, according to M. Stern. ‘The form does not occur among palestinian finds, therefore probably Syrian.’ This jug however is said to have been found in or near the oppidum of Noviomagus, Nijmegen, the Netherlands.
Provenance: From a private dutch collection.
Parallels: Fondation Custodia Paris, inv. 4101. British Museum: inv. 1911/4.4/8 from Aleppo. RGZ Mainz inv. 0.6676.
CYLINDRICAL JAR WITH 18 VERTICAL RIBS
Of the 4th. to 5th. century H: 10.1 cm, D Rim: 5.2 cm, W Shoulder: 4.15 cm, W Body: 3.7 cm.
Technique: Blown into a ribbed mold; rim out-splayed with tubular lip by folding; short rather bulbous neck, tapering toward the end of the neck; shoulder tapering down into parison, inflated in dip-mold, withdrawn and blown to size and shape; base with slightly concave area; no pontil mark visible.
Description: Transparent, almost colorless glass vessel with funnel shaped mouth, wider than body; vertical decoration on wall of 18 straight vertical ribs.
Condition: Intact, with silvery iridescence on the inside, on which sandy encrustation.
Remarks: 18 straight vertical ribs plus parison shoulder and wide mouth gives the total of the bottle a reminiscence of a date-palm with short or pruned branches. An allusion probably to what content the jar once had.
Provenance: From Collector Antiquities London, 2007. Before, likely from Syro-palestinian background. Now in a dutch private collection.
Reference: Baur, 1938, p. 544, no: 100. Silberheim Collection, 1952, p. 28, lot 103. Hayes, 1975, pp. 113-114, no: 433. Whitehouse, 2001, CMG vol.II, p. 119, no: 618.
The Glass Drinking Horn
The drinking horn is a vessel in the form of a crescent-shaped horn. It evolved from the ancient Greek and Roman vessel the Rhyton. There are some examples of this type of Roman glass from the first century AD. A few of them have a figure at the point in the form of a faun’s head. Most drinking horns are from the Frankish and Merovingian periods 400-700 made and found in France, eastern Germany and the Netherlands. The vessel was made by first blowing a cone-beaker and bending it while it was warm. The Frankish and Merovingian horns are usually decorated with applied threads in horizontal spirals, continuous vertical loops, or zigzag patterns. The tip of the glass was pointed or flattened and mouth was usually just knocked off and shaped. This style of vessel was made until the 17th century when drinking horns were used more for decoration rather than for drinking. Many of these later ones were made with diamond-point engraving and Venetian filigrana. The pictures of drinking horns are from various museums and showing many different styles.
ROMAN BEAKER OF PALE BLUE GLASS
3rd. to 4th. century A.D. Isings form 109a. H: 9.8 cm, D(rim): 6.8 cm, W: 6.8 cm.
Technique: Blown, rim cracked off and unworked; wheel-cut decorations; base made by folding to solid disk-like standing ring; flattened underside; no pontilmark.
Description: Biconical beaker; flaring rim; solid disk-like base; decorated with wheelcut lines, six in total of which one with broad groove at ¾ from base.
Condition: Complete and intact; with one vertical crack from rim to the middle of the corpus; some adhering sand on the inside; vessel obviously had been lying on its side; weathered throughout, but transparant.
Remarks: According to Isings this type of beaker was widely spread, dated findplaces from Syria to Cyprus, from Italy to Gaule.
Provenance: From a dutch collection.
Reference:La Baume, Cologne, no: D35., Von Saldern, collection Hentrich No: no 48, 249, Goethert-Polashek, 1977, p.83, no: 366, Boosen, Staatliche Kunstsammlung Kassel, 1989, p. 86, no 177, Constable-Maxwel collection, 1997, p.130, lot 232, Whitehouse, 2001, CMG vol I, p. 248, no: 422
BLUE JUGLET WITH CYMBALS
9th-10th Century A.D. H: 5.7 cm H thumbrest: 7.65 cm W: 3.3 cm
Rim: 2.22cm Length Spout: 1.8 plus cm
Technique: Blown from a three-part mould, two vertical and one to create a disk-shaped base (MCT VC); seams of the mould almost invisible except from two vague traces on the vertical sides at 90 degrees from mouth and handle; neck free blown; rim folded outwards to form the spout then rounded; handle attached on two cymbals, pulled up towards the rim and extracted to create thumbrest; standing ring; concave base; heavy pontil mark.
Description: Dark-blue, opaque glass juglet of a small size, decorated with six bacchic cymbals.
Condition: Intact, unbroken, complete except from the tip of the spout broken off. Brown-gold iridescence.
Remarks: A symbolic winejug in miniature. In general the cymbals would be carried with various other items of the Bacchic cult during the processions of the cult’s festivals.
Provenance: From a dutch private collection, probably from Sassanian background.
Reference:Stern, 1995, p 316 no: 118; p 28-32 Elaborate explanation on mould technique.Fleming, 1999, Reflections on Cultural Change, p, 58, E.61 Carboni, 2002, Glass from Islamic Lands, p. 286
HELLENISTIC MOSAIC HEMISPHERICAL BOWL
Second century B.C.; Eastern Mediterranean or Greece
H: 3.8 cm, D: 9.00 cm, Thickness rim: 0.39. cm, Bottom: 0.32 cm, Isings form: 1.
Technique: Mouldpressed, or sagged, hemispherical bowl; from a convex mould; wheelcut line underneath the rim into the same glass pattern.
Description: Hemispherical bowl, i.e. convex curving side and convex bottom; mosaic pattern formed from polygonal sections of a single blue bar as the centre, with an opaque white spiral surrounded by an amber coloured field that joins the other intersections with visible lining; rough wheelcut rim, slightly polished; one wheelcut groove at approximately 0.85 cm below the rim.
Condition: Complete and intact; polished; surface pits and remains of iridescence and weathering on the inside and outside.
Remarks: The rim is not finished with a coil of a different pattern, which might indicate an older date, or a primitive approach in technique.
Provenance: From a dutch collection. Said to have been aqcuired in Sicily, Italy.
Reference: Isings, 1957, form no: 1, p.15, Olivier, 1968, Millefiori glass in classical Antiquity, p.65, n.4, Slick-Nolte/ Stern, 1994, Early Glass of the Ancient World, Ernesto Wolf Collection with elaborate explanation on the technique.
ROMAN GLASS GEM WITH MENELAUS AND PATROCLUS
2nd, first half first century B.C., H: 1.15 cm, W: 0,95 cm, Thickness: 0,24 cm
Technique: Formed from a mould with the original carving of the subject in relief. More examples could have been produced. Classical style.
Description: Yellow brown, or amber coloured glass when made transluscent, darker in appearence. Side of the oval towards the back rounded. Classic style of carving. Suffered from heavy wear. Placed in a 20th. century golden ring of the nineteen twenties.
Condition: Good, intact, heavy wear.
Remarks: Although the gem is not very sharp on the image, the beauty of the skillfully excecuted naked bodies in classic style is still well visible. Menelaus in the background is holding a shield on his right arm and supports the body of his son Patroclus on his left leg. A very emotional scene from ancient greek history as a reference to Homers Iliad, book XVII, verses 722 – 736. ‘Patroclus corpse is carried from the field.’
A marble sculpture with the same father-son image, partly from antiquity, can be seen in the Loggia of the Piazza dei Signori in Florence, Italy, erected by the Medici.
Provenance: Castra Vetera Xanten Germany, found by a fieldworker in 1918 outside of the north-west area of the first castellum, where many gems have been detected in the last two centuries. Acquired from the descendants of the original finder who placed it in a modern gold ring. Eversince in the a private dutch collection. Hence by descent to the current collector.
Reference: Published by Gertrud Platz-Horster in 1994: Die Antiken Gemmen aus Xanten Vol. II. p.151, plate: 39, no: 212. Furtwaengler, Berlin 49, plate: 9.635. Zwierlein-Diehl, Wuerzburg 160, plate. 64, 354. With elaborate explanation. A.Nietsche, AA 1981, p. 76.
Additional picture of the glass gem, in the ring and an impression of it.