“LOTUS-BUD” BEAKER WITH MASKS
ROMAN “LOTUS-BUD” BEAKER WITH MASKS of Nico F. Bijnsdorp
Mid to second half of 1st century AD. Eastern Mediterranean.
H= 13.0 cm. D max= 6.4 cm. D rim= 6.3 cm. D base= 4.0 cm. Weight 68 gr.
Classification: Isings: Form 31.
Condition: Intact. Some iridescence and buff weathering. Rim unevenly cracked off.
Technique: Blown into four-part mold with three vertical sections joined to a disk-shaped base section (MCT III). Relief crisp.
Description: Transparent to translucent natural bluish-green glass. Conical body, decorated with four horizontal rows of eight down-pointed knobs, shaped like almonds or lotus-buds, alternating with small circular bosses over one bottom row of four lotus-buds alternating with four different (comedy) masks. The masks may represent Silenus (a long-haired bearded man), a comic mask with gaping mouth and large ears, Pan (a male with long hair, a curly beard and horns) and Dionysus or a woman (a child-like face with short hair). The knobs in the upper row plain, in the other four rows three-tiered, decreasing in size from top to bottom. Slightly depressed base with two raised concentric circles around central boss. Rim-cracked off unworked.
Remarks: Knobbed beakers were common types of mold-blown tableware and were used as drinking vessels. The most common decoration is rows of pointed three-tiered knobs or three-tiered knobs alternating with small circular bosses. Other designs include alternating rows of plain pointed oval knobs, sometimes alternating with small circular bosses, and knobs or bosses framed by various linear patterns. Rows with knobs that are arranged directly under each other are known but rare. The combination of masks and “almonds” on such beakers is very rare. Stern believes that the knobs are not lotus-buds, but depict the knots on Hercules’ club.
Publishe: Groen 2011, Romeins Glas uit particulier bezit, p. 37. Gorny & Mosch 16 June 2004, No. 212.
Exhibited: Thermenmuseum Heerlen (NL), Romeins Glas uit particulier bezit, 29 April – 28 August 2011, exh. Nr. 37.
Reference: Pellati 1998, Spalato Museum, No. 194 (with masks). Israeli 2011, Shlomo Moussaieff Collection, p. 76 (with masks) La Baume 1976, Karl Löffler Collection, No. 66. Whitehouse 2001, Corning Museum, Nos. 492-496.