Ancient Glass Blog of The Allaire Collection

SIDON ANCIENT GLASS CENTER

Posted in Uncategorized by Allaire Collection of Glass on April 12, 2019

Sidon

Sidon was renowned as a bronzeworking and glass center . Luxury glass vessels were also produced at multiple cities in the eastern Mediterranean, but Sidon’s sand was reputedly the best quality for glass making.  Its name carried a particular cachet: several ancient glassmakers identify themselves as “Sidonian” in signatures on vessels. Therefore “Sidonian glass vessels ” were not always made in Sidon but  Sidon’s sand was used to make the vessel.  Below is a classic example of a Sidonian glass bottle.

SIDONIAN BOTTLE WITH SCROLL DESIGN of ALLAIRE COLLECTION

(43R) First Century A.D. H: 8cm

Remards: This is a light violet mold-blown bottle with a single light green handle which was probably made in Sidon.  Sidon is located in the modern country of Lebanon and has been a glass manufacturing center from the time it was a Phoenician city about 4000 BC.  It may be the city where glass was first made.  During the Roman period Sidon also continued to be a glass manufacturing center.  A large group of these small mold-blown bottles of this type are thought to come from this area and were made in the first Century.  Sidonian bottles were made in many different motifs and colors but are all in the general size and shape of this example.

Additional examples on this site: AMPHORISKOS, MOLD-BLOWN SIDONIAN JUG, AMPHORISKOS WITH “FLOATING HANDLES”, JUGLET WITH COBALT BLUE HANDLE

Ref: Constable Maxwell #105 (light brown), Stern 1995, Toledo Museum # 55, Nico F. Bijnsdorp book FASCINATING FRAGILITY # 230 (manganese), The Windmill Collection of Roman Glass (manganese with cobalt blue handle)

 

Tyre and Sidon

The thriving Phoenician cities along the eastern Mediterranean coast exported cedar, olive oil, wheat, and wine, and they imported linen, jewels, and silk.  Expensive purple dye, luxury clothing, perfumes, and cosmetics were at the core of Tyre and Sidon’s prosperity during the Roman period.

Both have been major ports for many centuries, but their maritime trade was now enhanced by harbors greatly expanded with concrete breakwaters built using Roman engineering techniques. Roman structures still stand—buildings, bridges, arches, roads, piers, and breakwaters—thanks in large part to the concrete and mortar that the Roman engineers designed. Amazingly, even in corrosive saltwater environments, Roman concrete harbor structures have remained strong and intact for more than 2,000 years. This Roman invention was never duplicated or understood until modern times. See this link for more information on Roman concrete.

 

The following glass example and some of the descriptions of Tyre and Sidon in this post come from a show at The Metropolitan Museum of Art  World Between Empires.

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