The upright rim of the bowl has a rounded edge; the gently sloping sides curve inward at the middle toward a rounded bottom. A shallow groove is cut into the interior of the bowl beneath the rim, and a band of four cut grooves decorates the exterior.
This hemispherical bowl is made of a richly colored amber-yellow glass, the translucency of which is reminiscent of naturally occurring amber, a highly valued and fashionable luxury in the Roman empire. Mold-made or cast bowls, such as this example, first make their appearance in the late Hellenistic period. Mostly of simple shape with grooved decoration on the exterior and interior, such bowls range in date from the 1st century B.C to the 1st century A.D. The shapes are closely paralleled in contemporary pottery and metal-ware. Generally these glass bowls appear to have been cast in molds, either by pouring molten glass into the preheated molds, or by melting powdered glass within them. The rounded rims were finished by grinding and polishing after the vessel cooled, and the grooved decorative surface was produced by careful grinding. Most bowls show signs of rotary polishing on the interior, while their exteriors were “fire-polished,” which produced a finely finished surface that was buffed in conjunction with reheating the cup. Southern Syria seems to be the primary center for the production of these bowls, and the type has been found at Syrian and Palestinian sites. Some varieties of the linear-cut bowl occur only in the West, where the main production centers were probably located in northern Italy, although some pieces may have been made in the Rhineland and elsewhere.