Ancient Glass Blog of The Allaire Collection

ROMAN GLASS JAR WITH HUNTING SCENE

ROMAN GLASS JAR WITH HUNTING SCENE (AcoaG # 6)

of

The Augustinus Collection of Ancient Glass

Photo: AcoaG.63.4

Date: Late 3rd. to 4th. century A.D. Form:Kisa: F364

Hunting scene from Publius OvidiusNaso, Metamorphoses, book III, verses 173-252

Artemis hunting a doe and three stags

Size: ↑ 9.8 cm | Ø body: 10.4 cm | Ø Mouth: 7.9 cm | Ø Base max: 6.2cm |

Description:  Translucent glass with a greenish to golden-yellow tint. Globular body with wide concave neck and slightly flaring, knocked-off rim; flat base with central pontil mark. On exterior, engraved scene of hunter with bow and four animals in bush like scenery. A male or female hunter, dressed in tunic and boots, holds a bow in the left hand directed to four animals; the right hand is pointed upwards as if  an arrow has just been released towards: 1. a doe looking backwards to the hunter, 2. a stag grazing and in no hurry, 3. and 4. two stags running to the right; all decorated with clumps of foliage resembling palmettes. On base, a stylized flower with 10 petals.

Technique:     Blown, cut and abraded pontil mark.

Condition:      Complete, except for loss on rim; one crack, leading from the figure holding the bow, to the rim. A few small and some larger bubbles. Weathered and iridescent, sand encrusted.

Remarks:       ­By C. S. Lightfoot.

“In all probability this jar was both made in the same glassblowing workshop as the Smith Collection jar in the CMG (55.1.1) and engraved by the same glasscutter (or two craftsmen working closely together and/or using the same pattern book).

They have a number of differences, indicating that they were not intended to be a pair but individual pieces. So, for example, they were not made of the same size, although in technique and shape they are the same. As regards the decoration, this too is very similar on both pieces. The CMG jar has a Latin inscription above the hunting scene, possibly indicating that it was intended as a gift because the wish for “we” (the giver and the recipient) to enjoy a good life. NOTE: in Whitehouse 1997, p. 269, a correction is made to the reading of the inscription: “Re-examination of the object under oblique lighting suggests that the disputed letter is F, and that the marks that appear to be the curved part of a P are the products of weathering rather than mechanical abrasion.” Also, there is no reason to believe that the inscription was added later.

Comparison of the two scenes:

  1. Position and stance of the hunter is the same.
  2. There are five animals, all running to right, but two with head turned back to left on the CMG jar. Here there are only four animals, one of which is grazing and so stationary.
  3. On the CMG jar the first animal in front of the hunter is clearly a dog with a long tail. The animal in the same position on this jar does not have such a tail; it should be identified as a doe, similar to the second animal (from the left) on the CMG jar.
  4. The fifth animal (at right) on the CMG jar is not identified in Whitehouse 1997, p. 268. But it would seem to be a bear.
  5. Foliage in ground between the figures is similar on both jars.
  6. A circle of two lines forms the ground line on the CMG jar. This does not exist on the present jar.
  7. Both jars have a rosette on the base, but the CMG example has 18 petals; this one has only 10 petals and is not surrounded by a cut circle around the edge of the base.

Hunting scenes were a common part of the repertoire of Roman art. The bowl in the British Museum from a grave in Leuna (Glass of the Caesars 1987, pp. 197–98, no. 107) indicates that the Greek myth of Artemis and the punishment of Actaeon was a popular subject on Roman cut glass (as elsewhere), although even here the names of the two characters had to be included as clarification. However, the scene on the present jar is more generic; there is nothing specific to indicate that the hunter is Artemis, and there are no dogs present, which were an integral part of the story of Actaeon”.

Written comment 25 October, 2019.

Provenance:  From a private dutch collection, previously unpublished; likely from Rhenish or North Italian origin, following the descriptions by Ray W. Smith (1957), Donald B. Harden (1987), David Whitehouse (1997).

Bibliography: R.W. Smith, Glass from the Ancient World, 1957, pp 177-179, no. 358.

| D.B. Harden et D. Whitehouse et al., Glass of the Caesars, 1987, p. 207, no 115. | D. Whitehouse, Roman Glass in the Corning Museum of Glass, 1997, Vol. I, pp 268-270, no. 457. Jar with Hunting Scene. | F. Fremersdorf, Niessen Collection, 1911, pl. 28. | F. Fremersdorf, 1967, pp. 165-166, pl. 218.

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