This small cobalt hydria is of slender, elegant form, a miniature example in glass of the great vessels of the same shape in terracotta. The glass, which is covered by a beautiful iridescence, is primarily cobalt blue, with decorative threads of opaque white and yellow. One of its small white horizontal handles has been broken.
Core-formed (also known as sandcore) vessels were created by trailing decorative threads of molten glass over a core of sand, mud or clay, to form a vase. Once the glass was in place, the threads could be dragged into decorative patterns, such as a the zig-zagged pattern on the body of our hydria. In this case, handles and additional threads of decorative glass (the rings of yellow around the rim and shoulder, as well as the upper portion of the white zig-zagged pattern) were applied after the vessel was originally made.
The hydria is a shape intended for collecting and pouring liquids like water and wine; its two horizontal handles were used to lift the vessel, while its longer vertical handle was used to pour off the liquid inside. This smaller, glass version of the hydria was not made to carry water or wine like the larger examples in terracotta, but to hold perfumed oil.
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