Ancient Greece, Classical period, ca. 5th century BCE. A beautiful example of a core-formed glass amphoriskos (miniature amphora) once used to hold perfumed oils. The near-miniature vase boasts an exceptionally elegant form with an ovoid body that is finely contoured with vertical ribs, twin handles that gracefully join the shoulder to the elongated cylindrical neck, and an everted discoid rim, all upon a narrow nub that references the shape of large amphorae. The cobalt blue body is wound with white thread-like trails applied in a close-knit zigzag or feathered pattern. The white trails continue above the feathered pattern - encircling the neck, and resolving at the rim – as well as below the feathering. The blue color is particularly stunning, as is the sophisticated technique employed to create this piece. Size: 2.5" W x 3.1" H (6.4 cm x 7.9 cm); 3.6" H (9.1 cm) on included custom stand.
According to the Corning Museum of Glass, core forming is "the technique of forming a vessel by winding or gathering molten glass around a core supported by a rod. After forming, the object is removed from the rod and annealed. After annealing, the core is removed by scraping" (https://www.cmog.org/glass-dictionary/core-forming). This process of glass making was begun in the late 16th century BCE by glassmakers of Mesopotamia, and then adopted by Egyptian glassmakers in the 15th century BCE. The technique almost came to an end in the so-called Dark Ages of Mediterranean civilization (1200 to 900 BCE); however, by the 9th century BCE a new generation of glassmakers took up the technique once again, and between the 6th and 4th century BCE core-forming spread throughout the Mediterranean.
A similar example hammered for 3,000 GBP ($4,136.20) at Christie's, London, South Kensington Antiquities Auction (sale 5488, October 7, 2010, lot 43): https://www.christies.com/lotfinder/Lot/a-greek-core-formed-glass-amphoriskos-eastern-mediterranean-5358307-details.aspx
Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection
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