Ancient Glass Blog of The Allaire Collection


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

OIL LAMP or UNGUENTARIUM of Hans van Rossum

Date: 1st – 2nd century AD | Roman Empire Size:↑6.8 – 5.0 cm | L = 8.0 cm | Width = 5.8 cm | Weight 72 g


Technique: Free blown, tooled; handle applied

Condition: Intact, silvery iridescence on the interior; handle broken and restored.

Description: Pale, almost colorless glass, made as a bowl with polished rim; sides pushed together, the marks of a hand-hold tool, used for folding the sides together                                            are still visible; flattened base without pontil.

Remarks: This glass object said to be an oil lamp because of the clearly visible spout on one side. Oil lamps in glass are rare and worldwide only a few examples are known.                                   The exceptional shape of this lamp is exceedingly rare or even unique. Another possibility is that this squeezed bowl was used as an unguentarium and imitates a basket.

Provenance: Formerly part of a Rhineland private collection, inherited from the father’s collection and acquired during the 60s-80s through the German and                                                        Belgium art market.

Reference: Römisches und Fränkisches Glas in Köln, O. Doppelfeld no. 88, Gläser der Antike, Sammlung Oppenländer, A. von Saldern e.a. nos. 571, 572. No direct parallel in construction and as an oil lamp can be cited. Ancient Glass in the Israel Museum, The Eliahu Dobkin Collection and Other Gifts nr. 384  Ancient and Islamic Glass in the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, A. Oliver Jr. no. 233, Glass from the Ancient World, the Ray Winfield Smith Collection no. 238, for a number of references in case of the shape of a basket.

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