Ancient Glass Blog of The Allaire Collection


Posted in Uncategorized by Allaire Collection of Glass on February 12, 2017


2nd – 3rd century AD | probably the northern Black Sea region

Size↑9.6 cm | (including dot of plaster) ø 7.8 cm | Weight 68 g


Technique:Free blown, handles applied

Classification: Isings 1957 form 61 (variant) | Sorokina 1987 rim type A, handles type C4

Description: A pale to light green glass aryballos, squat globular body, indented base, no pontil mark. Rim folded outward and inward. Two handles in green glass. The mouth sealed with a dot of plaster. Very rare. One handle applied on the shoulder, drawn up, folded and attached to the middle of the neck.

Condition: A small restoration at the shoulder, part of the rim and neck broken in antiquity, probably by the Roman glassworker or the owner. Some slightly incrustation.

Remarks I: Till 11 December 2007 this aryballos was part of the collection of the Indianapolis Museum of Art (USA), accession-number 79.601. After December 2007 it was deaccessioned by the museum, together with some other artifacts and works of art. The aryballos has been sold by Leslie Hindman Auctioneers on 2 February 2009 during the Furniture and Decorative Arts Sale as lot no. 889. The new owner not only cleaned the exterior of the glass but unfortunately he also tried to remove the unique stopper. He thought this dot of plaster came into being after an ”explosion” in the Roman tomb as a consequence of a chemical reaction, caused by the content of the aryballos. Happily he did not succeed and stopped his effort, probably after he noticed the rim was already broken. The way in which the plaster is following the line of the rim the conclusion can be made that rim and neck were undoubtedly already damaged in Roman times. After this damage the Roman owner did not throw the aryballos away but he used or re-used it again. Instead of a bronze stopper or a stopper of a wad of fabric or plaster, which was no longer an option now, he used plaster to cover de mouth totally. Chemical formula of plaster: CaS04.2H20. Confirmed by XRF-analysis (X-Ray Fluorescence), on 4 February 2011 by Restaura – Haelen (NL).

Remarks II: The way in which the glass worker fixed the other handle is not only unusual but rare too. He started, as usual, on the shoulder with a dot of glass, after toking the glass upward it was broken. So he had to decide very quickly, as long as the glass was hot, what to do. He started again but now by attaching the glass to the neck first, bringing the glass coil downward, made even the usual fold and attached the handle to the dot of glass on the shoulder. Generally speaking the glass coil is thick on the place the glassworker starts making handles, and that is on the shoulder. The second handle however shows the thicker part of the coil on the neck side and that is undeniably the evidence for the problems the glassworker was confronted with. Author is not known with any identical example of a handle applied in an opposite way as a consequence of what happened to this glassworker. Another interesting aspect of this aryballos is the presence of a rest of the original liquid in the interior. Slightly indented base, no pontil mark. The relatively big handles for an aryballos, together with the shape of the body and the rim are specific characteristics for a production in the northern Black Sea region. (Sorokina 1987, pp. 40-41)

Provenance: London art market, Leslie Hindman Auctioneers 2 February 2009, lot no. 889 Indianapolis Museum of Art USA, accession number 79.601, Collection Lt. Jacob F. Baker USA, acquired in the 1960s

Published: Magazine VIND (NL) no. 23 – 2016, p. 29 Vormen uit Vuur, no. 220 – 2013, p. 1 Romeins Glas uit particulier bezit, J. van der Groen & H. van Rossum 2011, p. 103 De Oude Flesch, no. 121, 2010, p. 24 Leslie Hindman Auctioneers 2 February 2009, lot no. 889

Exhibited: Thermenmuseum Heerlen (NL), Romeins Glas, geleend uit particulier bezit, no. 186 29 April – 28 August 2011

Reference: Necropolis ”Sovkhoz-10” (Southwest Crimea), Chersonesus, Archaeological Museum, accession number 1.962 for a similar example Glass from the Roman Empire, P.E. Cuperus no. PEC 107, p. 48 (for the sealinGlass of the Millennia, Arte Primitivo 6 March 2002, lot 52 (for the sealing)

Drs. M. Zilverberg, expert on Roman Glass, Netherlands

Drs. M. Zilverberg, expert on Roman Glass, Netherlands

Kunst & Kitsch (Antiques Road Show) in the City Hall of Middelburg on 29 September 2014 with drs. Mieke Zilverberg, expert on Antiquities and Roman Glass. Broadcast on TV on 1 April 2015

2 Responses

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  1. Dr. Robert DeutschDr. Robert Deutsch said, on February 12, 2017 at 5:08 am

    Is there a seal impression in the clay?

    • Allaire Collection of Glass said, on February 12, 2017 at 3:19 pm

      Dr Robert Deutsch

      No there is no impression in the gypsum. I hoped there should be one of Gallinus or Caracalla but…unfortunately.


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