Ancient Glass Blog of The Allaire Collection

FRANKISH OR MEROVINGIAN INDENTED GLASS BOWL

Posted in Uncategorized by Allaire Collection of Glass on March 6, 2020

Frankish Or Merovingian Indented Glass Bowl

From

The Windmill Collection of Roman Glass

 

Date: End 4th –  5th Century AD Sizes:↑ 5.0 cm │ Ø 13.5 cm

 

Provenance: Rhineland, possibly from the environment of Mayen (Germany)

Classification: Isings (1957) form 117. The same group includes Gellep Type 221, 306 and 334 (Pirling 1966) and Trier forms 15b and 28 (U.Koch)

Description: Free blown bowl of thin glass with a faintly round bottom,, no pontil mark. The glassblower made use of a wet wooden spatula and thus applied ten shallow elongated (oval) dents in the sloping wall. The wall is slightly bent outwards at the top, the edge is fairly thinly finished. The indented bowl has a hint of yellow-brown in the transparent glass, suggesting that it was first manufactured after the decline in the central supply of soda  from the Egyptian Wadi El Natrun and the later use of locally extracted brown stone. At that time, the required sand was mined in the rural area around Cologne.

Condition: Reassembled from several large and smaller fragments. This restoration was carried out by the Römisch-Germanisches Museum in Cologne.

Remarks: Indented bowls were common in the transition period from the Western part of the Roman Empire to the Merovingian era. The shape seems to be inspired by metal bowls and bowls from earlier times. In use as a table service, probably as a drinking bowl or serving food (→ Stern 2001). The colors varied from translucent yellow and brownish green in Germany to green in England. The shape is known in Belgium and in the north, north-east and south of Gaul as well as in the Rhineland, England (→ Harden 1956, Anglo-Saxon context) and Northern Italy (Aquileia) and even in Slovenia (Emona, in the Baths of Ljubljana) and Bulgaria.

Early (from Mid 4th century) copies often have an unfinished edge. They are made in clear tinted glass (sometimes with blisters and other impurities). After that period this type remained popular in Northern Gaul until at least the 3rd quarter of the 5th century, perhaps up to and including the 1st quarter of the 6th century. Numerous glasses (with more finished edges in the meantime) have been dug up in Mayen) (Germany).

This indented bowl has a hint of yellow-brown in the transparent glass, suggesting that it was first manufactured after the decline in the central supply of soda (soda) from the Egyptian Wadi El Natrun and the later use of locally extracted brown stone. At that time, the required sand was mined in the rural area around Cologne. The majority of this kind of thin-walled almost colorless or greenish dishes with 8, 9 and 11 pressed dents can be dated towards the end of the 5th century (F.Nauman-Steckner) . Many were deposited at the head or chest level of the deceased during the funeral ceremony, some of them on the chest with the opening down.

Excavations in Northern Europe have shown that there was a lively trade between the peoples of the West and the Scandinavian countries (Ulla Lund Hansen) both during the migrations and during the centuries of the Merovingian kingdom. Imported glasses are hardly found in tombs, but glassware is mainly found in the form of shards in settlements that can be classified as trade centers. They mainly come from the Merovingian region (France), to a lesser extent from the Angel-Saxon environment and almost never from the eastern part of the continent. In Sweden and especially the Norwegian roads, Frankish glasses are more common than in Denmark. Among these glass finds also an indented bowl like this one.

Quite recently, a large fragment of such a greenish dish (with probably 10 large oval dents once) was also found in the River Rhône (southern France), originating from a regional glassworks.

For more details about the type of indented bowls see also Hayes (1975), Koch, Stern 2001.

References:

Landesmuseum Main (G.Harter1999) page 188, inv. Nr.1934/297
 RGM Cologne: La Baum & Salomonson , page 71( Karl Löffler nr.257)
 Musée Archéologique de Strasbourg (Arveiller 1985), nrs.347 en 34)
Musée de Picardie , nr.282 inv.nr.5784
Antikensammlung Bassermann-Jordan, page 43

One Response

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  1. wynkin said, on March 6, 2020 at 8:17 am

    So beautifully simple.


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