ROMAN DOUBLE-BODIED BALSAMARIUM
ROMAN DOUBLE-BODIED BALSAMARIUM of Nico F. Bijnsdorp
4th – 5th century AD. Eastern Mediterranean, perhaps Sidon.
H= 13,8 cm. D max= 6,3 cm. Weight 77 gr.
Condition: Intact. Some patches of incrustation.
Technique: Free blown. Applied trailing and handles.
Description: Transparent pale yellowish to colorless glass. Translucent light blue trailing,translucent dark blue handles, opaque brown handle. Double bodied balsamarium with two tubular phials or compartments made from a single paraison of almost colorless glass pressed-in from the sides to form a diaphragm. Solid bottom with ground pontil mark. Rim folded over inwards to form a hollow tubular ring. Spiral trail of translucent blue glass wound around the phials in eleven revolutions from bottom to rim. Two thick frilled handles of translucent blue glass applied from rimto bottom in four loops. Excess glass at bottom folded back. Opaque brown arching basket handle applied on top.
Remarks: The blue colored trailing in combination with the opaque brown basket handle is rare. Balsamaria like this one were probably made to contain kohl, so are also called kohl-tubes. Application rods were mostly made in bronze, but also in glass and ivory. Sometimes they were made so elaborately decorated that they were impractical to use.
Provenance: Collection Hans van Rossum, Dordrecht (NL), 2003. Collection P.L.W. Arts, Holten (NL).
Published: Arts 2000, A Collection of Ancient Glass, No. 78.
References: Newby 1999, Dolf Schut Collection, No. 84. Hayes 1975, Ontario Museum, No. 456. Oliver 1980, Carnegie Museum, No. 193.