Ancient Glass Blog of The Allaire Collection


Posted in Uncategorized by Allaire Collection of Glass on February 13, 2020

Two Glass Unguentaria from Persia AcoaG 65 and AcoaG 66


The Augustinus Collection of Ancient Glass

Photo: AcoaG 65 and AcoaG 66


Shape AcoaG 65:  Moirin Jean: forme 37, Kisa: Glas-Form A31, Isings: form 6, 26 > 101 > 4th. c. A.D.

 Shape: AcoaG 66:  Kisa: Glas-form A27. Kunina: in origin the form derives from the alabastron, no’s: 2-18.

 Period: Sasanian into the Islamic period | ca. 3rd-7th. century A.D.

Dimensions: AcoaG 65: ↑ 6.9 cm | Ø Body: 6.25 cm | Ø Mouth: 1.9 cm | Base facet: 2.85 cm | W: 30g| AcoaG 66: ↑ 8.04 cm | Ø Body: 3.9 cm | Ø Mouth: 1.4 cm | Base facet 1.4 cm | W: 28 g |

Description & Technique: One globular and one pear-shaped body; as for AcoaG 65: Globular bottle of white to yellow opaque glass, with almost ‘ceramic’ appearance; rim everted with rounded edge, flat top and a narrow mouth, – but wider as it is with a so-called ‘sprinkler bottle’ – made by folding up and in; neck short with tapering side; lower wall of body comes to plain base with concave situated circular pontil mark. Intact; dull and pitted. C. Isings sees a development from form 6 and 26 to form 101 lasting into the 4th. century.

AcoaG 66, with the pear-shaped body: blown and tooled to create the ribbed mouth – most likely this was made possible with pincers to form this special feature; no pontil visible, probably it was abraded.

Photo: AcoaG 66

David Giles was the first to see and comment the two unguentaria:The hard allover enamel patina is a feature i have seen of glass coming from Persia and surrounding areas. Late Sassanian, say 7th. century. This is an overlap period and sometimes hard to differentiate between Islamic and Sassanian. I am still more inclined to call them “Islamic”. (Written statement 16th. of January 2020.)

 Condition: Intact and complete; with heavy allover patina that makes the original color of both glass bottles almost indeterminable. Presumably the glass once had a translucent white to yellow appearance.

Bibliography/ References:

Comment, quoted from David Whitehouse*: ’Dropper flasks came into use in parts of the eastern Roman Empire, notably Syria, in the third century (Clairmont 1963 p. 41, no 157. From Dura-Europos, before 256 A.D.; Stern, 1977, pp. 95-100, nos 27A,B). Most Syrian dropper flasks are globular or pears-shaped, and they frequently have mold-blown decoration that includes overall geometric patterns or applied ornaments with ’snake-thread’ patterns. A second distinctive group of dropper flasks is found in Iraq, but not in Syria. Most of these Mesopotamian (presumably Sasianian) flasks are spheroid, and they may be decorated with vertical or swept mold-blown ribs or overall geometric patterns, pinched vertical flanges, or spiral trails (but not snake-thread motifs).’ **

Ref. 1. Metropolitan Museum NY, Globular Bottle wth slightly taller neck ca. 3rd-7th century A.D. Accession number 34.107.8.

Ref. 2.  Whitcom, Donald S. 1985, Before ‘the Roses and Nightingales’: Excavations at Qasr-i Abu Nasr, Old Shiraz, New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, pp 156-157, fig. 58bb.

Ref. 3 * Whitehouse, David, Sasanian and Post-Sasanian Glass in the CMoG, 2005 NY. Introduction and description of no 2, Bottle and no 3, Dropper Flask , pp 17-20.

Ref.  4. **  St. John Simpson, 2015. Sasanian glassware from Mesopotamia, Gilan, and the Caucasu. Journal of Glass studies 57.77-96. Text dedicated to the memory of the late David Whitehouse (1941-2013).

Ref. 5,  E. Marianne Stern, 1995, Roman Mould-Blown Glass, pp. 37-42.

Ref. 6.  Masterpieces of Glass, 1968, p 105, no 135 in relation to the travelroutes to China.

Ref. 7. The David Collection, Islamic Art / Glass, Copenhagen, D.K.

 Provenance: Most likely the two unguentaria were imported from the Eastern Roman Empire long after the dead of the emperor Constantine (in office: 312 – 337 A.D.) who gave freedom to the Christian religion in the year of 312 A.D. Although in the eastern Roman empire the Christians suffered once again under Persian rulers.** (St. John Simpson, 2015.). From a private dutch collection, previously unpublished. Said to have been found in the roman town of Trier Germany, which is very remarkable or perhaps untrue. – note with the glasses -.

photo: AcoaG 65,


One Response

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  1. wynkin said, on February 13, 2020 at 8:55 am

    Beautiful shapes.

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