PERIOD: 1st – 2nd Century A.D.
SIZE: Height 17.4 cm
PROVENANCE: Private collection S.M., Barcelona, acquired in the 1970s.
CONDITION: Nice example, with the frontal part of the body rejoined of all original fragments.
Glass articles were highly in favor 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.