Ancient Glass Blog of The Allaire Collection


Posted in Uncategorized by Allaire Collection of Glass on June 8, 2016

CINERARY URN of Nico F. Bijnsdorp







Second half of 1st century AD. Western Empire, probably Italy.

H= 34.4 cm (urn 27.8, lid 7.7). D max= 22.0 cm. D rim= 16.0 cm. Weight 922 gr.

Classification: Isings 1957: Form 64.

Condition: Intact. Excellent condition

Technique: Free blown. Handles applied

Description: Transparent bluish green glass. Vertical, concave rim, rounded in flame, formed by folding out and up and thus forming a ledge for the lid. Short concave neck, with smooth transition to shoulder and ovoid body. Concave bottom. No pontil mark. Two opposite, H-shaped handles, each made from one thick coil, applied on the left, drawn up, tooled down, drawn horizontally to the right, tooled vertically up and down to be attached to the shoulder. The excess glass is drawn out thin and folded back on top of the handle till the very left leg of the H. The domed lid with partly rounded, partly folded rim. Wall rising in center to a flattened knob, pierced vertically.

 Remarks: Glass cinerary urns were common in the Western Roman Empire, where cremation was practiced, whereas in the Eastern part inhumation was in practice. Since they were only excavated from graves (often with cremation remains) and not in settlements, it is suggested that they were not household jars. A use in funerary rites is also indicated by the pierced lid which possibly did not serve as a lid but as funnel for pouring libations. In that case the “lid” was put upside down into the urn.

Published: Antiek Glas 2001, video film Allard Pierson Museum, Amsterdam. Sotheby’s 10 December 1996, No. 24. Groen & Rossum 2011, Romeins Glas uit particulier bezit, p. 122.

Exhibited: Allard Pierson Museum Amsterdam (NL), de Kunst van het Vuur,  17 May – 16 September 2001, No. 53. Thermenmuseum Heerlen (NL), Romeins glas uit particulier bezit, 29 April – 28 August 2011, No. 275.

 References: Auth 1976, Newark Museum, No. 99. Pellati 1998, Zara Museo Archeologico, No. 261. Buora 2004, Museo Archeologico di Udine, No. 483. Mandruzzato 2007, Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Aquileia, No. 312.

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