MELTED ROMAN GLASS PERFUME BOTTLE
MELTED PERFUME BOTTLE of Hans van Rossum
End 1st – 2nd century AD | Northern Italy or Dalmatia (Today Croatia)
Size↑9.5 cm | ø 3.3 cm | Weight 23 g
Technique: Free blown
Classification: Isings 1957 form 28
Description: Blue-green glass, long cylindrical neck, rounded rim. No pontil mark.
Condition: Melted, but intact
Remarks: Melted glasses are common in antiquity. (Necropolis Relja area, Zadar-Croatia with numerous examples) Probably these glasses, filled with a fragrant liquid, were used as part of a ceremony around the cremation, to dissipate the smell of the burning body. After using the perfume the glass was thrown into the fire. The practice of sprinkling the body of the dead with aromatic spices can be understood against the background of the country’s warm climate. The spices were intended to slow down the process of decomposition and to repel files and insects. However, they were intended not only for the deceased, as part of the burial rites, but also for the place of burial itself. There is no doubt that many of the bottles that have been found were brought by the mourners, in order to mitigate the bad smell and to freshen the air during and after the burial ceremony. This was certain a necessary procedure in family tombs, which were visited at set times. The numerous bottles found in the tombs complement the written sources. It is interesting to note that many of the bottles found are of poor quality and careless manufactured, possibly because they were made especially for funerary use.
Provenance: Cameleoncoins, USA 2012
Reference: Vetri Antichi del Museo Archeologico di Udine, M. Buora nos. 436 – 440 for other melted perfume bottles, Vetri antichi del Museo Vetrario di Murano, G.L. Ravagnan no. 172