Antiquities > Ancient Glass

Roman Perfume, C. 4th Century C.E.?


Robby R:
From what I can tell off of Yale university's catalog, this is probably 4th- 5th-century C.E. Earlier ones usually had more dainty strings of glass lightly and tastefully applied to accentuate a vessel, but later on the popular style was to, in some cases, obscure the vessel with strings of glass: and, indeed, the strings of glass on this vessel do take away from the shape.

It was probably a perfume bottle, Roman in origin. The bottle was blown into a mould and finished off while being held by a punty rod. Thus, we have a sharp pontil scar on the base.

The bottle exhibits extreme decomposition in some areas that were low in silicates, in which what was the glass now crumbles; and, in others, retains most of the original surface layer of glass from where there were heavier silicates. The bottle has a crack along the main body and some splits in the strings of glass. I'm not sure, but I'm guessing this one was an apprentice piece as it just isn't quite pretty or that well-done.

My only real concern with its authenticity is the teal-coloured patination, or minseralisation, on some of it. I have never dug up antique glass with a tealy patination. It does not fluoresce, but that only helps say, "It's not guaranteed a fake", as some other falsely applied patinations do under a U.V. light.

Joe Sermarini:
It looks heavy, even for 4th-5th-century. Maybe even a little later than that?

Robby R:

The bottle is blown with the applied strings of glass and weighs in at about 2.7 ounces and is at about 70 mm in height (height approximated as I can't find a ruler).

What would you suggest it is?

Thank you, and have a great day.


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