Ancient Glass Blog of The Allaire Collection

RIBBED BOWL (zarte Rippenschale)

Posted in Uncategorized by Allaire Collection of Glass on July 11, 2017

RIBBED BOWL (zarte Rippenschale) of Nico F. Bijnsdorp


First half of 1st century AD. Probably north Italy or Western Empire.

H 6.2 cm. D max 9.5 cm. D rim 7.9 cm. Weight 113 gr.


Classification: Isings 1957: Form 17. Goethert-Polaschek 1977: Form 4. Morin-Jean 1913: Form 69.

Condition: Intact except for small restoration to the rim.

Technique: Free blown and tooled. Thread applied.

Description: Transparent cobalt blue glass. Opaque white thread. Squat hemispherical body on flattened base. No pontil mark. Pronounced shoulder with smooth transition to short concave neck with slightly reverted rim. Rim slightly ground. The body encircled  by an opaque white spiral thread from the center of the base to just below the neck. The thread starting very thick at the base, spiraling around the body in six revolutions and ending in ten extremely thin revolutions on the shoulder. On the body thirty-one irregularly placed narrow ribs, partly vertical and partly oblique, either to the right or to the left. The white thread hardly visible between the ribs.

Remarks:  A bowl of this type is generally called “zarte Rippenschale” (fragile ribbed bowl) in order to distinguish it from the larger, more open type of bowl with heavy ribs. Although zarte  Rippenschalen were excavated in various sites throughout the Roman Empire, the majority of find spots is in northern Italy, Switzerland, Austria and the northwest part of former Yugoslavia. Most of them have bright colors (amber, blue, purple) with opaque white trailing but monochrome bowls without trail are also known.

The production method of the ribs on zarte Rippenschalen is still under discussion. Some authors believe that the bowl was free blown and the ribs were pinched from the wall while others state, that the bowl was blown into a (dip)mold. It is well defend able to assume that both methods were in use at the same time. Many bowls have a kind of arches on top of the ribs just below the shoulder. Since this effect can not be the result of pinching, it may explain the use of a (dip)mold. If however such arches are not present and the ribs are irregularly spaced, obliquely placed and have different lengths, one can support the pinching theory. All characteristics of the four examples in this collection are consistent with the pinching theory.

The number of thirty-one ribs on this bowl is exceedingly rare.

Provenance:  Gorny & Mosch, Munich, 2014. 

 Published: Gorny & Mosch, 17 December 2014, No. 92.

Reference: Whitehouse 2001, The Corning Museum, No. 759. Newby & Schut 1999, The Dolf Schut Collection, No. 21. Ravagnan 1994, Museo Vetrario di Murano, No. 379. Toniolo 2000, Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Este, No. 280. Sotheby’s 4/5 June 1979, The Constable-Maxwell Collection, No. 69. Wight 2011, The J. Paul Getty Museum, Fig. 67 (ex Oppenländer No. 262) The Metropolitan Museum New York, accession  number 91.1.1247.



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