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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Antiquities| ▸ |Antiquities by Material| ▸ |Glass Antiquities||View Options:  |  |  |   

Ancient Glass

Ancient glass making began in Egypt and the Mesopotamian region around 1500 B.C. Glass beads and inlays were even used on King Tutankhamen's mask. The earliest vessels were produced by forming melted glass on a clay core in the shape of the desired vessel. Hot threads of contrasting color were wrapped around the vessel, pressed, and combed to create a wavy pattern. The clay core was removed after cooling. The Augustan age of the Roman empire and invention of the blowpipe in Sidonian Phoenicia marked a turning point in glass production. Output could be increased a thousandfold with the introduction of new, exciting shapes. This technique quickly spread to Italy, and then throughout the empire. Roman glass was so popular that most Romans owned glass objects, and much has survived and is available today at reasonable prices.

Roman Eastern Mediterranean, Glass Bottle, Late 1st - Early 3rd Century A.D.

|Glass| |Antiquities|, |Roman| |Eastern| |Mediterranean,| |Glass| |Bottle,| |Late| |1st| |-| |Early| |3rd| |Century| |A.D.|,
This shape was is found throughout the empire and was popular over a long period making precise dating difficult. The constriction at the base of the neck indicates it is Eastern Mediterranean.
AB30955. Glass bottle; cf. Yale Gallery 85; 10.0 cm (3 1/2"), Choice, free-blown, pale green, cylindrical neck expanding to a shallow tooled constriction, piriform body, uneven folded and flattened rim, flat bottom; striations, yellow weathering, dulling, iridescent areas; SOLD


Egyptian, Mosaic Glass Face Fragment, c. 1st Century B.C. - 1st Century A.D.

|Malloy| |Glass|, |Egyptian,| |Mosaic| |Glass| |Face| |Fragment,| |c.| |1st| |Century| |B.C.| |-| |1st| |Century| |A.D.|,
From the collection of Alex G. Malloy, former dealer in antiquities for 40 years.

All references date mosaic glass face plaques to about 100 B.C. - 100 A.D. None of the collections and references examined included a similar fragment and this piece may date much earlier, perhaps c. 1000 B.C.
AM32399. Mosaic glass face fragment; cf. Kofler-Truniger lot 249 (lot of 8 fragmentary mask fragments, though not very similar), Superb!, 1.2 cm (1/2") x 1.6 cm (5/8"), part of facing face with cream skin color, delicate black line features, black eybrow, blue eye, red-brown headdress and hair, blue field to right; of great rarity!; SOLD


Ptolemaic or Roman Egyptian, Glass Floral Inlay Fragment, c. Late 2nd Century B.C. - Early 1st Century A.D.

|Malloy| |Glass|, |Ptolemaic| |or| |Roman| |Egyptian,| |Glass| |Floral| |Inlay| |Fragment,| |c.| |Late| |2nd| |Century| |B.C.| |-| |Early| |1st| |Century| |A.D.|,
From the collection of Alex G. Malloy, former dealer in antiquities for 40 years.

Floral plaque fragments of this pattern are included in some published museum collections. They all appear to be from the same workshop, reputedly in or around Bahnasa, Egypt. The Metropolitan Museum of Art has a near complete plaque but all known examples are fragments. Although, fragments are all that remain of the extraordinary work of these brilliant artisans, we can still take pleasure from these small glimpses of their ancient masterpieces.
AM32437. Ptolemaic Egypt, 1 1/8" x 1 1/2" floral inlay glass fragment, cf. Lightfoot NMS 492, magnificent floral pattern, Superb, probably c. 100 B.C. mint, three yellow branches with dark green leaves, part of white flower, yellow fruits, three larger yellow fruits with clear white centers, dark grey-blue background; of great rarity!; SOLD


Roman, White Patella Cup, 1st Century B.C. - 1st Century A.D.

|Malloy| |Glass|, |Roman,| |White| |Patella| |Cup,| |1st| |Century| |B.C.| |-| |1st| |Century| |A.D.|,
From the collection of Alex G. Malloy, former dealer in antiquities for 40 years. Ex Robert Hass collection.

The flang which was formed by pinching a fold of glass along the side of the cup must be purely decorative since the slop of the rim would prevent it from holding a lid.
AM32574. Patella cup; cf. Wolkenburg Collection, Christie's London, 9 July 1991, 96, Choice, probably Flavian period; reverse 3.8 cm (1 1/2") x 6.3 cm (2 1/2"), free-blown, thin opaque white glass, wide flanged rim, cream color patination, very attractive!; SOLD


Egyptian, Glass Floral Inlay Fragment, c. 5th - 1st Century B.C.

|Malloy| |Glass|, |Egyptian,| |Glass| |Floral| |Inlay| |Fragment,| |c.| |5th| |-| |1st| |Century| |B.C.|,
From the collection of Alex G. Malloy, former dealer in antiquities for 40 years.
AM32401. Ptolemaic floral inlay glass fragment, Superb, 2.5 cm (1") x 2.8 cm (1 1/8"), red flower with white center Yellow flower with red center dots, two yellow stems with flower on end, yellow flower with blue cross, blue background, lovely floral pattern; SOLD


Ptolemaic or Roman Egyptian, c. 1st Century B.C.

|Malloy| |Glass|, |Ptolemaic| |or| |Roman| |Egyptian,| |c.| |1st| |Century| |B.C.|,
From the collection of Alex G. Malloy, former dealer in antiquities for 40 years.

The mosaic glass making technique is a painstaking labor intensive process. Long colored glass rods (canes) are arranged and bundled to form the desired cross-section pattern. The rods are fused with heat and pulled to reduce the diameter and shrink the pattern to a smaller scale. The fused and pulled canes of glass are then cut into wafers, each piece bearing the original cross-section pattern in miniature. The wafers are then fused together to form the vessel. Millefiori, a combination of the Italian words "mille" (thousand) and "fiori" (flowers), is a distinctive and beautiful decorative pattern of mosaic glass.
AM32450. millefiori fragment from a vessel of the finest quality, Superb, a true gem!, 5.7 cm (2 1/4"), dark brown background, white spiral striped rim, multiple millefiori designs of circles of green and white, red and yellow dots circles, red circles with small yellow dots; lovely and delicate; of great rarity; SOLD


Roman Syria, Glass Vessel, 3rd - 5th Century A.D.

|Malloy| |Glass|, |Roman| |Syria,| |Glass| |Vessel,| |3rd| |-| |5th| |Century| |A.D.|,
From the collection of Alex G. Malloy, former dealer in antiquities for 40 years.
AM32601. Blue vessel with pinched projections; cf. Corning I 318, Superb!, 6.9 cm (2 3/4"), clear bright blue glass, globular body ornamented with a horizontal row five pinched projections, short neck, broad folded and flattened rim; worthy of the finest museum or private collection; SOLD


Roman (Possibly Ennion Workshop), Tankard-Shaped Glass Jug, 1st Century A.D.

|Malloy| |Glass|, |Roman| |(Possibly| |Ennion| |Workshop),| |Tankard-Shaped| |Glass| |Jug,| |1st| |Century| |A.D.|,
From the collection of Alex G. Malloy, former dealer in antiquities for 40 years. Ex Alex G. Malloy Catalogue summer 1977, No. 50

Similar jugs, including Benzian Collection 81, are identified as possibly from the Ennion Workshop. Ennion was one of the first glassmakers to use a two-piece mold and the first glassmaker to sign glass objects that have survived until modern times. Our piece, very similar to Benzian 81, either came from the Ennion workshop or, perhaps more likely, was closely copied from his work.
AG32580. Jug, possibly Ennion workshop; cf. Benzian Collection 81 (very similar but all pale glass); Corning II 510 (different mold but with blue handle), Choice, reconstructed, 8.9 cm (3 1/2"), mold-blown clear yellow, blue loop handle, frieze of grape leaves around the shoulder, cylindrical body divided into rectangular niches, radial design on shoulder and base, extensive silver and rainbow iridescence; SOLD


Punic (Carthage or Syro-Palestinian Coast), Glass Caricature Head Pendant, Late 6th - 5th Century B.C.

|Holy| |Land| |Antiquities|, |Punic| |(Carthage| |or| |Syro-Palestinian| |Coast),| |Glass| |Caricature| |Head| |Pendant,| |Late| |6th| |-| |5th| |Century| |B.C.|,
From the collection of Alex G. Malloy, former dealer in antiquities for 40 years.

A recent European auction listed a similar but complete piece with an estimate of 18,000 Euros!
SH32405. Head pendant; cf. Corning Pre-Roman 214, Choice, 1.6 cm (5/8"), core-formed, yellow face and ears, white eyes with blue centers, white blob center of forehead, blue beard, blue and white spiral striped hair band, lower beard, back and loop missing; rare; SOLD


Roman, Eastern Mediterranean, Small Glass Bowl, c. Mid 1st - 3rd Century A.D.

|Glass| |Antiquities|, |Roman,| |Eastern| |Mediterranean,| |Small| |Glass| |Bowl,| |c.| |Mid| |1st| |-| |3rd| |Century| |A.D.|,
In his Satyricon, the satirist Petronius’ tells the story of a Roman glass-maker who invented flexible glass and was granted an audience with the Roman emperor Tiberius. After Tiberius examined a glass cup, he handed it back to the glass-maker, who threw it to the floor. The emperor was shocked, but the cup did not shatter and was only dented. The glass-maker beat the glass with a little hammer, and in no time, the cup regained its original shape. Tiberius asked if anybody else knew how to make this flexible glass, to which the glass-maker replied, no. The glass maker was expecting a reward for his invention, but instead, Tiberius had him executed, thus taking the secret of making flexible glass with him to his grave. Tiberius executed the glass-maker because he was afraid flexible glass would cause gold to be devalued. Believe it or not, Pliny tells this same story in his, Natural History!
AG20812. cf. Harter A17, Isings 18, Newark Museum 101, Bomford 98, Choice, intact, areas of weathering and iridescence, very tiny chips in the edge, small glass bowl, mold pressed thin pale green transparent glass; 13.8 cm (4 3/8") diameter, 3.9 cm (1 1/2") high; spherical shell, curving outward toward edge, rolled up and in lip with ground edge, bottom slightly concave, ornamented with light wheel-incised horizontal bands on exterior; from the collection of Alex G. Malloy, former dealer in antiquities for 40 years; SOLD




  




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REFERENCES|

Allen, D. Roman Glass in Britain. (Buckinghamshire, 1998).
Auth, S. Ancient Glass at the Newark Museum. (Newark, 1977).
Carboni, S. Glass from Islamic Lands: The Al-Sabah Collection, Kuwait National Museum. (New York, 2001).
Carboni, S. & D. Whitehouse. Glass of the Sultans. (New York, 2001).
Christie's Sale. Ancient Glass Formerly the Kofler-Truniger Collection. 5 - 6 Mar 1985.
Christie's Sale. Wolkenburg Collection. 9 Jul 1991.
Corning Museum of Glass, Journal of Glass Studies.
Ettinghausen, R. Ancient Glass in the Freer Gallery of Art. (Smithsonian Institution, 1962).
Glass at the Fitzwilliam Museum, exhibition catalogue. (Cambridge, 1978).
Goldstein, S. Pre-Roman Glass and Early Roman Glass in the Corning Museum of Glass. (Corning, 1979).
Grose, D. Toledo Museum of Art, Early Ancient Glass. (New York, 1989).
Grossmann, R. Ancient Glass: A Guide to the Yale Collection. (New Haven, CT, 2002).
Harden, D. Catalog of the Constable-Maxwell Collection of Ancient Glass. (London, 1979).
Harden, D. Ancient Glass, I: Pre-Roman, The Archaeological Journal, Vol. CXXV, 1969.
Harden, D. Glass of the Caesars. (Milan, 1987).
Harter, G. Römische Glaser Des Landesmuseums Mäinz. (Mainz, 1996).
Hayes, J. Roman and Pre-Roman Glass in the Royal Ontario Museum. (Toronto, 1975).
Isings, C. Roman Glass From Dated Finds. (1957).
Isings, C. Roman Glass in Limburg. (Gröningen, 1971).
Israeli, Y. Ancient Glass, Museum Haaretz Collection. (Tel-Aviv)
Kröger, J. Nishapur, Glass of the Early Islamic Period. (New York, 1995).
Kunina, N. Ancient Glass in the Hermitage Collection. (St Petersburg, 1997).
Lightfoot, C. Ancient Glass in National Museums Scotland. (Edinburgh, 2007).
Matheson, S. Ancient Glass in the Yale University Art Gallery. (Meriden, 1980).
Neuburg, F. Ancient Glass. (Toronto, 1962).
Nicholson, P. Egyptian Faience and Glass. (Buckinghamshire, 1993).
Oliver, A. Ancient Glass: Ancient and Islamic Glass in the Carnegie Museum. (1980).
Riefstahl, E. Ancient Egyptina Glass and Glazes in the Brooklyn Museum. (1968).
Saldern, A. Gläser der Antike: Sammlung Erwin Oppenländer: Katalog (Karlsruhe, Germany, 1975).
Sotheby's Sale. Ancient Glass, London, Sale 3242, London, 20 Nov 1987.
Sotheby's Sale. Important Ancient Glass from the Collection formed by the British Rail Pension Fund, London, 24 Nov 1997.
Sotheby's Sale. The Benzian Collection of Ancient and Islamic Glass, London, 7 July 1994.
Stern, M. Early Glass of the Ancient World, 1600 B.C. - A.D. 50, Ernesto Wolf Collection. (Ostfildern-Ruit, 1994).
Stern, M. Roman, Byzantine, and Early Medieval Glass, 10 BCE - 700 CE, Ernesto Wolf Collection. (Ostfildern-Ruit, 2001).
Von Saldern, A. Ancient Glass in the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. (Meriden, 1968).
Von Saldern, A., et al. Glaser der Antike, Sammlung Erwin Oppenländer. Museum fur Whitehouse, D. Islamic Glass in the Corning Museum of Glass, Vol. 1. (Rochester, 1997).
Whitehouse, D. Medieval Glass for Popes, Princes, and Peasants, The Corning Museum of Glass. (Corning, 2010).
Whitehouse, D. Roman Glass in the Corning Museum of Glass, Vol. 1. (Rochester, 1997).
Whitehouse, D. Roman Glass in the Corning Museum of Glass, Vol. 2. (Rochester, 2001).
Whitehouse, D. Roman Glass in the Corning Museum of Glass, Vol. 3. (Rochester, 1997).
Whitehouse, D. Sasanian and Post-Sasanian Glass in the Corning Museum of Glass. (Manchester, 1997).

Catalog current as of Wednesday, July 8, 2020.
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