Ancient Glass Blog of The Allaire Collection

AMPHORISKOS WITH “FLOATING HANDLES”

Posted in Uncategorized by Allaire Collection of Glass on December 18, 2016

ROMAN GLASS AMPHORISKOS WITH “FLOATING HANDLES” of Nico F. Bijnsdorp

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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.

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