DOUBLE-BODIED ROMAN GLASS BALSAMARIUM of Nico F. Bijnsdorp
4th – 5th century AD. Eastern Mediterranean, Palestinian.
H= 20.4 cm. D max= 8.0 cm. Weight 90 gr.
Classification: Stern 2001: Class V G 2.
Condition: Intact. Excellent condition. Stable crack in arch handle. Some surface pitting.
Technique: Free blown. Handles and trailing applied.
Description: Transparent brownish-amber colored glass. Rim folded inward. U-shaped body divided into two tubular compartments by pressing-in from the sides to form a diaphragm, tapering slightly toward the flattened, solid bottom. A thin thread spirally wound upward around the tubes clockwise in five revolutions. On the sides, two thick side-handles attached near the bottom onto the rim, frilled into three loops. High arching basket handle attached on top of side-handles, twisted 360 degrees at midpoint to form a loop above the arch.
Remarks: Balsamaria like this one were probably made to contain kohl, so are also called kohl-tubes. They exist with one, two, three or four compartments. Sometimes they were made so elaborately decorated, that they were impracticable to use (see NFB 334). Application rods were made mostly in bronze, but also in glass and ivory.
Published: Christies, Antiquities 15 May 2002, No. 536.
Reference: Newby 1999, Dolf Schut Collection, No. 84. Hayes 1975, Ontario Museum, No. 456. Oliver 1980, Carnegie Museum, No. 193.