Ancient Glass Blog of The Allaire Collection


Posted in Uncategorized by Allaire Collection of Glass on June 6, 2019



The Augustinus Collection of Ancient Glass

Date from: the late 3rd to 4th. century

Isings form: 105, Morin-Jean form: 32,  Goethert-Polaschek  form: 85.

Size: ↑ | Ø Mouth: 1.75 cm | Ø mid: 2.5 cm | Ø Base:1.8 cm | W: 49.9 gr.|

Technique: Basically the long bottle was blown freely into a short mold, by this creating the ability to form the bubble at the end, before stretching or elongating the glass to form the square bulbous middle-section and long neck. An outsplayed and rounded mouth might have been formed, but is now missing.

Description: Tube-shaped toilet bottle with the wide part in the middle, bulbous base; also known as: ‘long fusiform unguentarium’, with broken off mouth; basically colorless with yellow-green teint, bubbly and iridescent. Isings form: 105, p 126, similar to; without the rim.

Condition: Transparent light yellow-green glass in fine condition with plenty of iridescence, almost impossible to see through.

Remarks: C. Isings remarks about the glass of the fourth century: ‘unworked rims are very common even in table ware’. (Chapt. V, p 126). Part of a white content is still visible inside of the vessel and at the mouth; maybe the act of breaking off the rim did have a symbolic meaning to the ceremony and can be seen as an indication that the long, bone-like bottle was brought to the gathering in closed condition, before opening it during the cremation or rather at the burial? The meaning of the word fusiform gives a reference to the shape of a fish, ἰχθύς , ie the Christian religion.

According to Susan Auth: “The seemingly impractical shape of container was widely distributed in the late Roman empire. Perhaps its distinctive shape was used for a certain type of perfume or medicine?”

Harden, (Karanis p. 268) thinks it to be a Syrian type of origin. Sennequier calls it: “a type that frequently appears in the Rhine-area and in Gaule in the second half of the third century. The first examples though seem to appear in and come from the Orient in the second century.”

Reference: Calvi, Fiale fusiforme, gruppo B, no 325, p153, Tav. 24:5 and O:2 Auth. 1976, Newark Museum, 141, p 117. Sennequier, Musée Picardie Amiens, Dilly/Maheo, 235, 3rd. century.

 Provenance: Acquired in Cologne before 1960. From a private dutch collection, first publication.


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