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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 Syro-Palestinian, Glass Sprinkler Jug, 4th - 5th Century A.D.

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This opaque buff-yellow-brown enamel-like weathering is common on glass vessels found in Israel, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria. Syria-Palaestina was a Roman province between 135 and about 390 A.D. It was established by the merger of Roman Syria and Roman Judaea, following the defeat of the Bar Kokhba revolt. Shortly after 193, the northern regions were split off as Coele Syria in the north and Phoenice in the south, and the province Syria Palaestina was reduced to Judea.
AG21147. Choice, complete, intact, thick yellowish brown enamel-like weathering, weathering chipped in spots on rim and near base exposing rough glass surfaces, sprinkler jug, free-blow, thick green glass, 11.1 cm (4 3/8") tall, 6.1 cm (2 3/8") maximum diameter, small funnel mouth, rolled and folded in rim, short tubular neck, washer-like dropper diaphragm inside the base of neck, glass trail handle attached below rim and below neck; piriform body, kicked bottom with pontil mark; from a New Jersey dealer; $250.00 (€220.00)
 


Roman Syro-Palestinian, Glass Sprinkler Jug, 4th - 5th Century A.D.

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This opaque buff-yellow-brown enamel-like weathering is common on glass vessels found in Israel, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria. This opaque buff-yellow-brown enamel-like weathering is common on glass vessels found in Israel, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria. Syria-Palaestina was a Roman province between 135 and about 390 A.D. It was established by the merger of Roman Syria and Roman Judaea, following the defeat of the Bar Kokhba revolt. Shortly after 193, the northern regions were split off as Coele Syria in the north and Phoenice in the south, and the province Syria Palaestina was reduced to Judea.
AG21157. Complete, intact, areas of heavy weathering but most weathering flaked off leaving behind a rough glass surface, sprinkler jug, free-blown, pale green glass, 12.3 cm (4 7/8") high, 6.1 cm (2 3/8") maximum diameter, small funnel mouth, rim rolled out and down, short tubular neck, trail handle attached below rim and at junction of neck and shoulder, washer-like dropper diaphragm inside the base of the neck, piriform body, kicked bottom with pontil mark; from a New Jersey dealer; $160.00 (€140.80)
 


Roman Syro-Palestinian, Glass Sprinkler Jug, 4th - 5th Century A.D.

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The Palestinian glass industry flourished from the 4th to the early 5th century, following the rule of the Roman emperor Diocletian (284-305), when the region enjoyed a time of relative peace in spite of economic instability. When Constantine the Great finally emerged as sole ruler in 324, Palestine benefited from the fact that he targeted Jerusalem and the Holy Land as main recipients for his reconstruction program. Exempted from personal taxation by an Imperial edict in 337, a large number of skilled craftsmen profited greatly from the economic boom.
AG21160. Choice, complete, intact, grainy surfaces, areas of tan-brown weathering, glass sprinkler jug, free-blow, thick blue-green glass, 11.1 cm high, 5.5 cm maximum diameter, small funnel mouth, rolled and folded in rim, short tubular neck, washer-like dropper diaphragm inside the base of neck, trail handle attached below rim and to shoulder, kicked bottom with pontil mark; from a New Jersey dealer; $220.00 (€193.60)
 


Roman, Syro-Palestinian, Glass Sprinkler Jug, c. 3rd - 4th Century A.D.

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The Palestinian glass industry especially flourished from the early 4th to the early 5th century, when the region enjoyed a time of peace and prosperity. Conditions began to improve under Diocletian. The first Christian emperor, Constantine the Great, designated Jerusalem and the Holy Land for reconstruction. Exempted from personal taxation by an Imperial edict in 337, a large number of skilled craftsmen profited greatly from an economic boom. Urbanization increased, large new areas were put under cultivation, monasteries proliferated and synagogues were restored. The cities of Palestine, Caesarea Maritima, Jerusalem, Scythopolis, Neapolis, and Gaza reached their peak population, and the population West of the Jordan may have reached as many as one million.
AG21172. cf. Lightfoot NMS 178, Ontario Museum 416, Isings -, Choice, complete, intact, creme and spotty brown weathering, glass sprinkler jug, 10.3 mm (4") high, 6.3 cm (2 1/2") maximum diameter, free-blow, yellow-green glass, conical piriform body, tubular neck, slight funnel mouth, folded in rim washer-like sprinkler diaphragm and tooled constriction at the base of neck, handle attached below rim and below neck, kicked bottom with pontil mark; from a New Jersey dealer; $360.00 (€316.80)
 


Roman, Palestinian, Sprinkler Flask, c. 4th Century A.D.

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The Palestinian glass industry especially flourished from the early 4th to the early 5th century, when the region enjoyed a time of peace and prosperity. Conditions began to improve under Diocletian. The first Christian emperor, Constantine the Great, designated Jerusalem and the Holy Land for reconstruction. Exempted from personal taxation by an Imperial edict in 337, a large number of skilled craftsmen profited greatly from an economic boom. Urbanization increased, large new areas were put under cultivation, monasteries proliferated and synagogues were restored. The cities of Palestine, Caesarea Maritima, Jerusalem, Scythopolis, Neapolis, and Gaza reached their peak population, and the population West of the Jordan may have reached as many as one million.
AG20852. cf. Isings 104b, ROM Glass 327, Corinth II 621, Superb, complete and intact, spots of weathering and iridescence, glass dropper bottle, medium thickness yellow-green semi-transparent glass, 8.4 cm (3 1/4") high, 6.6 cm (2 5/8") maximum diameter, globular body with mold blown ribs, tubular neck tapering to a tooled constriction at top of shoulder, internal sprinkler diaphragm at base of neck, flaring mouth, vertical rim with folded stepped flange, fire rounded rim, kicked bottom with pontil mark; from the collection of Alex G. Malloy, former dealer in antiquities for 40 years; rare with this rim; $600.00 (€528.00)
 


Roman, Glass Sprinkler Flask, 3rd - 4th Century A.D.

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Dropper bottles, such as this one, were filled with scented oil or perfume. The constriction in the neck made it easy to dispense the expensive contents one drop at a time. The swirled design was created by blowing the body into a ribbed mold, removing the glass from the mold, then blowing it again while twisting the bubble.
AG21025. cf. ROM Glass 282, Isings 104b, Newark Museum 80-82, Oppenländer 493, Superb, complete and intact, spots of internal encrustation, mild weathering and some iridescence, dropper flask, 9.2 cm (3 5/8") high, 6.5 cm (2 1/2") maximum diameter, pale amber glass, slightly lopsided rolled and folded in rim, short funnel mouth, tubular neck with tooled constriction near the bottom, internal washer-like sprinkler diaphragm constriction at base of neck, globular body with spiral mold blown ribs (most visible on the shoulder), slightly convex bottom with pontil mark; from the collection of Alex G. Malloy, former dealer in antiquities for 40 years; $600.00 (€528.00)
 


Roman, Syro-Palestinian, Miniature Jar Shaped Glass Pendant, c. 3rd - Early 5th Century A.D.

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A wide variety of ancient glass amulets and pendants were made to look like tiny glass juglets and bottles. They were manufactured by bead makers, not glass blowers, and many are common bead types with added handles and other small vessel features.
AS34624. cf. Corning III 967, Bomford 171, Complete, intact, weathering, pitting, miniature Jar Shaped Glass Pendant, 15 mm, black glass with white glass thread, crude and rather carelessly made; $65.00 (€57.20)
 


Roman-Byzantine, Syro-Palestinian, Glass Dropper Flask, c. Late 1st - Early 5th Century A.D.

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Thick enamel-like weathering, as seen on this piece, is common on glass found in the Levant and this piece is certainly from the Levante. This flask is, however, a bit of a mystery. There is nothing very similar in the large library of ancient and medieval glass references held by Forum. It resembles an aryballos, but lacks the handles which define that type. It probably was used like an aryballos, to store and dispense scented oil which was rubbed on the skin and then scraped off to clean the body. The date is uncertain. Weathering obscures the original color, making another mystery, but the only other a similar flasks we know are described as opaque black glass.
AG20822. Isings -, et al. -; apparently unpublished but two similar pieces are known from the market (priced $2,500 - $3,000!), Choice, complete and intact, thick tan and brown enamel-like weathering, dropper flask, free-blown, amber(?) glass, 12.0 cm (4 3/4") tall, 8.5 cm maximum diameter, piriform body, very short narrow neck, broad flat folded in rim, round bottom with large pontil mark, not designed to stand on its own, attractive clear plexiglass three prong stand included; from the collection of Alex G. Malloy, former dealer in antiquities for 40 years; very rare form; $700.00 (€616.00)
 


Roman, Eastern Mediterranean, Glass Bottle, c. Late 2nd - 3rd Century A.D.

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This piece is not quite cylindrical but appears to be closely related to more common cylindrical specimens.
AG21101. cf. Isings 102a, ROM Glass 200, Newark Museum 446, Yale Gallery 221 - 223, Corning I 308, Superb, complete and intact, light red earthen deposits, light weathering, glass cylindrical bottle, finely made, free-blown faint lime-green glass, 9.0 cm (3 1/2") tall, 4.0 cm (1 1/2") maximum diameter, marvered to shape, rounded shoulder, body tapering toward base, short neck, rolled, folded in and flattened rim, slightly concave bottom, no pontil mark; from the collection of Alex G. Malloy, former dealer in antiquities for 40 years; $350.00 (€308.00)
 


Roman Syro-Palestinian, Glass Sprinkler Jug, c. 3rd - 4th Century A.D.

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Sprinkler jugs like this may have been used to store and dispense scented oil which was rubbed on the skin and then scraped off to clean the body before bathing. We believe this type of sprinkler jug may have also been used for funerals in the Levante. Filled with perfumed oil, a diaphragm in the neck made it easy to sprinkle the perfume one drop at time during services. After the funeral, these sprinkler jugs may have been left in the tomb to slowly effuse their remaining contents.
AG21161. cf. Lightfoot NMS 178, Ontario Museum 416, Isings -, Choice, complete and intact, spotty weathering, glass sprinkler jug, free-blown, translucent green glass, 10.2 cm (4") high, 6.1 cm (2 3/8") maximum diameter, slightly conical mouth, rolled and folded in rim, short cylindrical neck, single handle attached with folds under the rim and to the body immediately below the neck, washer-like sprinkler diaphragm at base of neck, conical body, kicked bottom with pontil mark; from a New Jersey dealer; $200.00 (€176.00)
 




  






REFERENCES|

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Catalog current as of Sunday, December 8, 2019.
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Ancient Glass