Late Imperial / early Byzantine periods, ca. 5th to 6th century CE. A beautiful free-blown glass flask of a pale pistachio-green color with a small footed base, a spherical body, wide tubular spout, a thin rim, and four applied trail handles. Each of the sinuous handles as well as the seventeen thin coils of applied rigaree around the neck display a deep turquoise hue while the foot exhibits a pale shade of seafoam green. Reflective areas of silvery iridescence complement the vessel's vibrant color, imbuing it with an elegant presentation worthy of high-status individuals and lavish Roman villas. Size: 2" W x 4" H (5.1 cm x 10.2 cm).
Most scholars agree, Roman glass was of the highest quality - both aesthetically and technically - among the ancients. While glass making had been practiced for centuries, glass blowing was invented in the Roman-controlled Holy Land in the 1st century BCE. This new technology revolutionized the artform. We can appreciate such a wide variety of forms and shapes, because the medium of glass has unique physical properties that make for so many more possibilities which would eventually replace a wide variety of pottery and metal wares in the ancient world. Roman glassmakers reached incredible artistic heights with both free-blown vessels and mold blown forms and decorations, and were traded far beyond the Roman Empire. Roman glass vessels have been found in Scandinavia, India, and in Han Dynasty tombs in China.
Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection
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