DECORATED PYXIS OR JAR of Hans van Rossum
4th – 5th century AD | Eastern Mediterranean
Size↑6.2 cm | ø 6.4 cm | Weight 66 g
Technique: Free blown, thread applied, tooled
Description: Transparent bluish-green glass, cylindrical body with hollow cut-out flange below polished and unworked mouth. Body decorated with zigzag of bluish-green glass
coil. Tubular pushed-in base ring. Pontil scar.
Provenance: Auction München 2014
Remarks: A shape with a cut-out flange, in combination with the zigzag decoration is rare.
The lid is authentic but originally not belonging to this jar.
Reference: No parallels could be found
Romans often drank a mixture of vinegar and water and had a special container for this called an acetabulum. This is from the Latin acetum (vinegar) and abulum the suffix denoting a small vessel. Today the word is used only as a medical term to describe the cup-like shape in your hip that the thigh bone sits in. Usually made of pottery, some in the first Century, as in this example were made of glass and often found in Italian graves. Below are three examples.
Sometimes the decoration on a piece of glass is what makes it outstanding. Spanish glassmakers of the 17th to 18th Century often took this to extremes with their fins and finials. The following examples illustrating this point are from the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Allaire Collection.
Roman Glass Zig-Zag Jar
This is a Roman jar with zig-zag trailing between the top of the rim to the shoulder of the body. It was probably made in the eastern Mediterranean area.
Third-Fourth Century A.D.
H: 7 cm
COPTIC BOWL FROM THE ROMAN PERIOD
Fourth Century A.D.
D: 11 cm. H: 9 cm.
This Coptic bowl from the Roman period was made in Egypt. This link is to another Egyptian glass bowl from this area. Also see two Museum collections of glass from Karanis, The Brooklyn Museum and Kelsey Museum.
Coptic glass bowl 4th C.
Late Roman Glass Jar with Chain Decoration
This late Roman glass jar is light green in color and free-blown. The piriform body is concave on the underside and has a wide flaring mouth with a rounded rim with applied dark blue trailing wound spirally up the rim. There are three trails wound around the body and tooled at intervals to form a pattern of bisected ovals called chain trailing. The trailing on this object is similar to a Juglet from the Hans van Rossum collection and Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York Accession Number: 37.128.6.
H: 11.1 cm 4th C. AD October 2002
ROMAN GLASS AMPHORISKOS WITH “FLOATING HANDLES” of Nico F. Bijnsdorp
First half of 1st century AD. Syro-Palestinian, probably Sidonian.
H= 8.6 cm. D max= 4.1 cm. D rim= 2.0 cm. Weight 28 gr.
Condition:Intact. Minor weathering and incrustation.
Technique: Body blown into a two-part mold of two vertical sections (MCT VIII A). Neck free blown, rim tooled. Handles applied.
Description: Transparent, clear pale bluish green glass for body and handles. Ovoid body with flat base. Concave neck with curved transition to shoulder. Rim folded out, up, in and down. Two coil handles applied to underside of rim , drawn down to shoulder (not attached), cut off at tip and pinched to form a small disc. One handle positioned on the mold seam, the other one adjacent to it. One continuous mold seam around body and base. Vessel shaped like a miniatureamphora encased in a wicker basket, with a branch of eight pairs of two laurel leaves alternating with laurel berries around the middle of the basket. On one side the leaves point to the right, on the other side to the left.
Remarks: Stern describes ten types of mold blown glass bottles like this one, that can be attributed to the workshop of the “Floating Handles”, most probably active in Sidon. Roman workshops usually made handles by applying a bit of glass to the shoulder or body of a vessel and then pulling it upward toward the neck or rim where it was attached. In the workshop of the “Floating Handles”, the glass blowers made handles the other way around. The hot bit was applied to (or near) the rim and then pulled downward toward the shoulder or body. With a tool, perhaps a type of shears or pincers, they pinched it to form a small disk at the lower tip of the handle. This pinching cooled the glass too much to let it attach to the wall of the vessel. The lower end of the handle in fact “floats”. The decoration on this bottle is based on the actual practice of protecting glass transport vessels by wrapping them in wickerwork, as can be seen on a few ancient glass vessels which still retain their wicker baskets.
Provenance: Charles Ede Antiquities, London, 2008. Collection Mr. F. of Surrey (1909-1984).
Published: Groen 2011, Romeins Glas uit Particulier Bezit, p. 69. Bonhams 26 April 2007, No. 17.
Exhibited: Thermenmuseum Heerlen (NL), Romeins Glas uit Particulier bezit, April 29 till August 28 2011, No. 250
Reference: Kunina 1997, Hermitage Museum, No. 129. Saldern 1974, Oppenländer Collection, No. 431. Stern 1995, Toledo Museum, No. 59. Christie’s 5/6 March 1985, Kofler-Truniger Collection, No. 112. Israeli 2011, Shlomo Moussaieff Collection, p. 84 Christie’s 5/6 March 1985, Kofler-Truniger Collection, No. 112.
Hexagonal Roman Bottle
The olive-green color of this hexagonal bottle and its diminutive size make it an unusual example. Probably made in the Second or Third Century, it differs from the later Byzantine types by its thinly blown sides and precise mold markings on the bottom. The base of the vessel is molded in relief with six spokes radiating from a central boss, each termination with a raised dot. It has been suggested that this type may have been made in the Western Provinces
H: 9 cm
Second to Third Century
ROMAN GLASS TRULLA of Nico F. Bijnsdorp
Late 1st – early 2nd century AD. Western Empire.
H= 6.1 cm. D rim= 11.1 cm. D base= 5.7 cm. L= 19.4 cm. Weight 113 gr.
Classification: Isings 1957: Form 75b.
Condition:Intact. Some weathering and iridescence.
Technique: Free blown. Handle and foot applied.
Description: Transparent pale green glass. Pan with deep cup and handle. Rim outfolded and rounded. Vertical wall slightly bulging just below rim and curving in sharply at bottom. Flat base with pointed kick and no pontil mark. Foot applied, outsplayed and with traces of tooling. Long flattened handle, made of drawn-out trail, attached to lip, then pinched out, with pincer-marks on top and bottom and excess glass folded back on whole length of the underside to the rim. Handle very broad at attachment to rim, narrowing to the middle and broadening again at the end.
Remarks: The word “trulla” can be defined as “ladle” or “dipper”. They were widely used inthe Roman Empire, serving as ritual objects in religious ceremonies for libations or for drinking or pouring purposes and even in bathing activities.
Published: Gorny & Mosch 17 June 2004, No. 211.
Reference: Whitehouse 1997, Corning Museum, No. 346. Hayes 1975, Ontario Museum, No. 148. Arveiller-Dulong 2005, Louvre Museum, No. 36. Massabò 2001, Aquileia Museum, No. 72. Saldern 1974, Oppenländer Collection, No. 557 (p. 241).
The glass manufacturing industry of the past is not unlike that of today. When a design is popular the maker has a good reason to create many of them, as well as being copied by other companies! The following examples illustrate these similarities in form & decoration.