TITLE: Flask CULTURE: Roman PERIOD: 2nd - 3rd Century AD MATERIAL: Glass SIZE: Height 8.2 cm; Diameter 7 cm REF: 20142300 PRICE: 950 euros PROVENANCE: Private collection S.M., Barcelona, acquired in the 1970s. CONDITION: Intact DESCRIPTION: A flask with a bulbous body, a long, narrow neck and everted rim. The flask is of a pale green tone with a brown iridescence. It was used to contain cosmetic preparations or perfumes.
Glass articles were highly in favour with the Romans who acquired them through trade with Egyptians and Phoenicians. But already from the beginning of the Roman Empire they produced their own glassware in the metropolis and outside it, using glass vessels in the same manner as did the Egyptians and Phoenicians while refining their forms to produce objects of great variety and elegance.
Just about all Roman burials contain clear or greenish glass vessels covered with an iridescent patina due to the action of humidity and air. These flasks, when made in narrow forms, are often called unguentaria or lacrimaria by collectors, but were only used to contain oils and perfumes in the tombs, not to be containers for tears.
The Romans also perfected the art of working figures in relief on the glass vessels with the addition of another layer of glass of a different color, or one of enamel, along with molding, cutting and engraving of the glass, with the result that the surfaces of the containers looked like worked cameos.