Ancient Glass Blog of The Allaire Collection


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

The Origin of  Stemware

The story starts with an Ancient Greek Kantharos ( or Cantharus) and Kylix which is a type of Greek cup used for drinking.  Although almost all surviving examples are Greek pottery, the shape probably originated in metalwork.  In the Kantharos iconic form, it is characterized by a deep bowl, tall pedestal foot, and pair of high-swung handles which extend above the lip of the pot. The Kylix has a broad, relatively shallow, body raised on a stem from a foot and usually two horizontal handles disposed


Another candidate for the origin of stemware is this ceramic goblet from Navdatoli, Malwa, 1300 BCE; Malwa culture in Central India.

A ceramic goblet from Navdatoli, Malwa, Central India 1300 B.C.E.


The discovery of how to make glass was probably in Eastern Mesopotamia and then passed on to Egypt.  Shortly after this glass was used to make beads, amulets, core form containers and then cast bowls and cups for drinking.  The Greeks later started to make the cast Kantharos or Kylix forms in glass during the Hellenistic period from (330 to 50 B.C.) at the beginning of the Roman Period.  The Kantharos form is different from the so-called Skyphos type that normally has a less oval body and a lower or no foot.  The Skyphos form was also used to make glass objects using free blown techniques in the first and later centuries.

However, it was not until the glass blowing technique was developed in the first century and widely used that the true stemware glass goblet appeared. This happened in the late third to the fifth century during the Roman and the Migration periods.

In the 3rd C. of the Roman Period a true glass stemware became a staple form in all of the future centuries. Then in the Middle Ages this oddity appeared which points to the beautiful and ornate Venetian and Façon de Venise wine glasses of the 15th to the end of the 16th century.

13th to 14th century Goblet Collection of Karl Amendt, Krefeld

Below is an active link on the naming of stems on stemware from Venetian and Façon de Venise period.


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