Ancient Glass Blog of The Allaire Collection


Posted in Uncategorized by Allaire Collection of Glass on February 19, 2018

Half-oval Roman glass bowl with blobs of  The Windmill Collection of Roman Glass


Date: End of 4th- early 5th century A.D.

Size: H = 8.3 cm  D = 9.0 cm.

Classification: Isings 1957, variant 96b Goethert-Polascheck, form 49A Harter (1999), form B21

Provenance:Private collection Cologne (Germany)

Description: Transparent free-blown bowl of greenish a little soiled glass. The bowl runs from the bottom with a slight slope half-oval upwards, with the wall being outwards at an inch below the edge. Halfway on the round body there is a pattern of 11 blue dots, varying in size and arranged at an irregular distance from each other. The edge is not finished, seems to be pinched and then sharpened, there is no pontil mark.

Condition: intact

Remarks: To make the decoration, the glassblower probably placed colored beads at some distance from each other on a hard surface, after which he rolled out a heated glass post. After reheating and blowing out in the form, the dots have dropped in the surface, but remain cooler in the bowl as a thickening after cooling.

Bowls and cups with blobs are mainly found in the western part of the Roman Empire, but also to a lesser extent in the Eastern Mediterranean. It is striking that most published copies originating from the Eastern Mediterranean are light (bluish) in color and have engraved lines. For example, the bowl from the collections of Oppenländer, Bijnsdorp and those from the Princeton Museum. The Windmill-bowl, on the other hand, has no engraved lines, is slightly polluted greenish and has, among other things, streaks in the glass, possibly indicating a (later) production in the western Roman Empire as a transition to the Merovingian period. This is reinforced by the fact that according to a communication from the previous owner, this glass would have been found in the vicinity of Cologne. It is known that both in the Netherlands (Nijmegen) and in Rhineland-Westphalia, Belgica Gallica and more to the south, numerous finds of this kind of cups and bowls have been made.

Fremersdorf (1961) makes an extensive description of this type of cups and bowls with blobs in which he makes a classification in cups found in the Rhineland (but possibly having an eastern origin, cups made in the Danube region and Italy, and cups / bowls). with a certain eastern origin. The classification seems arbitrary.Although it is known that many glasses ended up in the Western provinces via the usual trade routes, but also the (with slightly more colored blobs) cups that characterize an undisputed Cologne production and the numerous finds in the West seem more likely that this type must also be manufactured in this region. Fremersdorf also makes a distinction in cups (usually with engraved lines) that are faintly shaped at the top and copies that are slightly more outwardly folded.

He describes, among other things, a similar bowl (Table 98, bottom right) with an almost identical pattern as the Windmill-copy. This bowl would be in the Landesmuseum Mainz (no. O.2153), has no engravings and would have been found in Dunapentele (current Dunaújváros in Hungary). Barkóczi (1988) also reports numerous finds in the former Roman province of Pannonia, a region located east of the Alps, surrounded by the Carpathians and the Balkan Mountains. The Danube flows through this area. He assumes these bowls and cups come from local production centers.

The function, depending on form and execution, is not unambiguous. Perhaps intended as a bowl and / or cup for drinking or used as a lamp. The latter quality is best known from the long conical specimens. In the literature, the name of the different versions is often used interchangeably, among others by Whitehouse (Corning Museum New York) and Isings (1957).

Reference: Harden 1987 Glass of the Ceasars nr. (different series of blobs); Oppenländer nr.727, Whitehouse part I nos.371 and 375; collection N.F. Bijnsdorp (NFB 227), regular bubble pattern; Fremersdorf (1961), Table 98, r.u.)

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