Ancient Glass Blog of The Allaire Collection


Posted in Uncategorized by Allaire Collection of Glass on February 10, 2020

Roman glass spoon (cochlearium)


The Windmill Collection of Roman Glass

Date: 1st-4th Century AD Size: H=12.7 cm  (handle/scoop D=3.2cm (scoop)


Provenance: Prof. Dr. Ehud Malberger collection, Haifa (Isr.)

Description: The spoon has a thin hollow stem of blue-green glass that narrows (with a small turn) from the scoop at the end. The glassworker first has blown a thin tube and then pressed the last bit of glass into an open mold to form a shallow scoop or bowl. He has reheated the glass to finish the handle. The spoon has numerous small bubbles, two larger ones in the scoop.

Condition: Intact

Remark: Glass spoons are found in the Roman Empire, though not frequently, particularly in the Mediterranean area. Undoubtedly used in antiquity in banquets of the well-to-do citizens, a number of frescoes from the region of Pompeii and Herculaneum with images of a number of spoons such as ligulae, cochleearia and simpulae are also shown. The first (and relatively most commonly found) has an oval bowl and handle in various sizes, decorated or not. The second form (such as this one) has a round scoop and sometimes a tip at the end, it is generally assumed that it was used when consuming shellfish and eggs (in Latin cochlearium or also cochlear(e) in the sense of ‘snail’). For the third form of a (serving) spoon, a simpulum → see also an example in The Windmill Collection on this blog.

Reference: In the Corning Museum NY there is an almost identical specimen in the same color, Also with a round scoop and a point at the end of the stem. Dr. Whitehouse describes the spoon1st century BC. up to 5th century AD. → Roman Glass in the Corning Museum Vol 1 p. 357.

Corning Museum


Other parallels, slightly different in shape and length, such as an oval bowl and stem with a small bend, are in literature often dated between the 1st and 4th centuries AD.

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