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Lot 0020
Ancient Greece, ca. 2nd to 1st century BCE. Among the most impressive amphoriskos shapes - form III:2B (Toledo, pp. 126 ff) - this elongated version presents a cobalt blue glass body decorated with a trailed linear and lightly combed festoon pattern in opaque sky blue glass, a tall neck, and elegantly arched, translucent azure blue, trail handles joining shoulder to neck, just below the rim. A stunning example - sparkling with iridescence that has gracefully developed over the ages. Size: 6.125" H (15.6 cm); 6.75" H (17.1 cm) on included custom stand.

A vessel like this would have been made for the elites of ancient society. Its owner would have used a stopper to keep the contents inside, and a glass rod to dip into the vessel's perfumed oils and dab on the throat or wrists. The handles made it possible to suspend the vessel, and we know from Athenian vase paintings that vessels like these could be worn off a belt at the waist or suspended from the wrist.

The Greeks created core-formed or sandcore vessels by trailing threads of molten glass over a "core" of sand or clay to form the vessel. These threads were oftentimes feathered or dragged to create intriguing decorative patterns. The term amphoriskos literally means "little amphora" and is indeed a miniature amphora. This shape was quite popular as it was ideal to store precious oils, perfumes, or cosmetics.

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.

For similar vessels, though some of a different color, Cf. Hermitage, no. 38, pp. 253-254; Pittsburgh, no. 14, p. 42; Kofler-Truniger, no. 292, p. 151; Monsieru D., no. 50, p. 20

For further reading about core-formed glass vessels, read Associate Curator, Greek and Roman Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art C.S. Lightfoot's "The Pendant Possibilities of Core-Formed Glass Bottles" - https://www.metmuseum.org/pubs/journals/1/pdf/1513055.pdf.bannered.pdf

Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection

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Small chip to vessel's lower knop (ornamental knob) and upper terminal of one trail handle. Handles, neck, and body show signs of repair. Otherwise normal surface wear with tiny nicks and abrasions commensurate with age. Areas of stunning silvery, rainbow, and even violet purple iridescence.

Buyer's Premium

  • 24.5%

Greek Core Formed Glass Amphoriskos

Estimate $4,000 - $6,000Oct 11, 2018
686 S. Taylor Avenue Suite 106
Louisville, CO 80027
United States
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