Ancient Glass Blog of The Allaire Collection

LONG ROMAN GLASS FUSIFORM UNGUENTARIUM

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

 LONG FUSIFORM UNGUENTARIUM

of

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: ↑ 30.cm | 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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