A tall slender Roman glass unguentarium vessel with out-turned rim. Pale yellow glass with areas of lovely iridescence. It probably held perfume or scented oil. Circa. 1st - 2nd Century A.D.
Unguentaria are ceramic or glass bottles dating to the Greek and Roman periods and are a common find in burial contexts. They were mostly used as a container for oils and perfumes. Some date to the first century BC, but most of these antiquities for sale date from the first century AD through to the end of the Roman Empire. Early examples are more often made from clay while later from blown glass.
Condition: Fine. No chips or cracks.
Dimensions: Height 13.7cm.
Provenance: From the private collection of the late A.P. Fowler of Wimbledon, London, UK; thence by descent to his grandson and auctioned in 2020. The collection includes hand-written records showing Mr Fowler was in Italy during the early spring of 1951 and visited sites including Pompeii, Herculaneum and Palermo in Sicily.
Glassblowing developed in the Syro-Palestinian region in the early first century B.C. and came to Rome with craftsmen and slaves after the area's annexation to the Roman world in 64 B.C. The new technology revolutionized the Roman glass industry, stimulating an enormous increase in the range of shapes and designs that could be produced. Glassworker's were no longer bound by the technical restrictions of the casting process. Blowing allowed for unparalleled versatility and speed of manufacture. These advantages spurred an evolution of style, form and experimentation, leading craftsmen to create unique shapes; examples of which include flasks and bottles shaped like human heads, fruits and animals.
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