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Roman Glass Jug
New York | Vessels
 
Date:  3rd Century AD4th Century AD
Culture:  Roman
Category:  Vessels
Medium:  Glass
Dimension: H: 10.8 cm
Price: $10,000.00
Provenance: Ex- US private collection, acquired on the UK art market in 1996
Serial No: 33793

The jug was free blown in the transparent olive green glass. It has the ovoid body on a slightly concave base, with a cylindrical neck and splayed folded rim. An opaque white trail was applied to the base and wound spirally around the body to the rim. A strap handle was applied to the shoulder and pulled up to the rim. The combination of colors is elegant and the decoration suits harmoniously the shape of the vessel.

The replacement of terracotta by glass as a raw material for the manufacture of all types of containers is to be regarded as a major technological revolution in the Classical world: this shift, which occurred gradually between the late Hellenistic period and the first centuries of the Imperial times, was facilitated by the invention - probably in the Levantine - and widespread use of the blowpipe and of furnaces able to resist the temperatures needed for the melting of sands (transparent glass). With a versatility like no other known material in Roman times, abundant availability, lightness and ease of use, glass enabled the imitation of a wide range of other materials (especially precious metals), whether in the form, the design or the color. Furthermore, and the ancients had certainly noticed this fact, glass is a chemically neutral substance, what makes it particularly suitable for the storage of food, but also of cosmetics or pharmaceutical products.