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Lot 0081B
Roman, Imperial Period, ca. 2nd to 4th century CE. A striking free-blown pilgrim flask with a semi-translucent appearance and a pale-sage coloration. The petite base and rough pontil support the circular body which boasts relatively-flat sides with dozens of windswept diagonal ribs across the surface. A tubular neck rises from the top of the shoulder, terminating in a flared, ringed rim, with a pair of applied arching trail handles in differing shades of green which meet at a slate-blue ring midway up the neck. The darker handle exhibits faint yet integral traces of crimson coloration, and the lighter handle displays a streak of turquoise glass as well. Wispy areas of silvery and rainbow-hued iridescence envelop and nicely complement the vessel's muted green color. Custom museum-quality display stand included. Size: 3.5" W x 6.5" H (8.9 cm x 16.5 cm); 7.375" H (18.7 cm) on included custom stand.

Pilgrim flasks like this example were made by blowing a flask of a standard shape and then compressing it to a somewhat flattened form. The name of this vessel derives from the canteen-like bottles once carried by pilgrims who traversed vast distances between ancient civilizations. Of course, this fragile vessel would have been unsuitable for this purpose. Scholars have also suggested that flasks like this were utilized as holy oil containers.

Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection

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Surface wear and abrasions commensurate with age as expected, small nicks to base and body, with some clouding to coloration, and some scratches inside body, otherwise intact and near-choice. Light interior and exterior earthen deposits, and faint silver and rainbow iridescence throughout.

Buyer's Premium

  • 24.5%

Near-Choice Roman Glass Pilgrim's Flask

Estimate $1,500 - $2,000May 10, 2018
Louisville, CO, USA