Ancient Glass Blog of The Allaire Collection

AMBER RIBBED BOWL (zarte Rippenschale)

Posted in Uncategorized by Allaire Collection of Glass on May 26, 2017

AMBER RIBBED ROMAN BOWL (zarte Rippenschale) of  Hans van Rossum

First half of 1st century AD | Roman Empire with areas of concentration in northern Italy, Dalmatia, Carniola (Slovenia) and the Ticino area

Size↑5.5 cm | ø 7.8 cm | Weight 44 g

Technique: Probably combination of a mold and free blown, tooled

Classification: Isings 1957 form 17

Description: Translucent amber glass, the flaring and widened mouth with a cracked-off rim cover a squat spherical body, blown into a mold and decorated with nineteen ribs which are connected by an arch. Flattened base, no pontil mark.

Condition: Rim chipped, body with incredible silvery and golden iridescence

Remarks: Because the exact procedure of shaping the ribs is still disputed, more information about the way in which the Roman glass-maker possibly could have made this zarte Rippenschale, with thanks to Theo Zandbergen (NL), David Giles (UK) and Mark Taylor & David Hill of the Roman Glassmakers, London. The body color (blue, brown, etc.) is formed as a small bubble to start with. Then, in case of a thread decoration, a spiral of white (usually starting with the attachment at the bottom, though not always – you can usually see it at the centre of the base – resembling a ‘tadpole head’) going round the paraison all the way up towards the iron. (the trailing above the ribs might be applied separately at the end of the process) Re-heat, then a small amount of inflation, then pushing into the optic mold (star pattern) which then makes the whole paraison look like the centre of one of those glass lemon squeezers. Re-heat, then a bit more inflation, then use the pincers to squeeze a generous rib out using the protruding bits of the stars. Using the pincers now has the effect of cooling the ribs (sucking heat out from them, and the re-heats never fully warm these through again), and because they are stiffer, they will not expand as much as the body of the glass when it is inflated again. The ribs are only a tiny bit inflated in the mold as markers and then it is blown much more in free blowing and is also pulled around by tools and pinchers. In that process the position of the ribs is becoming distorted and sometimes misshaped. The ribs, with the stiff glass, stay the same, with their vivid contrasting color-way, but because the vessel body expands, to become much thinner, it stretches both the body color and the white so thin that sometimes the white is made to almost appear to fade out. But it is always there. The arches, some bowls have, are occurring naturally as the glass overflowed the short mold and expanded outwards. It looks as if it is a curved mold, the glassmaker used but it is not. It is just a natural bridge which does not always occur on examples of these bowls and depends how much puff or inflation the glassmaker gave to it when in the mold.

Provenance: anonymous sale; Piasa Drouot Paris, auction 2 June 2006, lot 61

Reference: Gläser der Antike, Sammlung Oppenländer, A. von Saldern no. 265 (5.4 x 7.6 cm) The Fascination of Ancient Glass, Dolf Schut Collection, M. Newby and D. Schut no. 1 (5.7 x 8.0 cm) Bonhams London, auction 27 April 2006 lot 223 (5.5 x 6.8 cm) Vetri antichi del Museo Civico Archeologico di Padova, G. Zampieri no. 276 (6.7 x 9.7 cm)

Literature: ‘Die Verbreitung der ‘’zarten Rippenschalen’’ T. E. Haevernick in Jahrbuch des Römisch-Germanischen Zentralmuseums Mainz, 14. Jahrgang 1967

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