- Glass Making in Roman Times
- Roman Wine: A Window on an Ancient Economy
- Roman Wine: Windows on a Lifestyle
- Fine Glassware in the Roman World
- Reuse of Images in the Art of Rogier van der Weyden
Ht., 16.6 cm
Mid 1st century A.D.
Inv. MS 5005
"When sleep deserts your gentle limbs, arise
And learn the way to dazzle all men's eyes....
Whoever puts this lotion on her face
Will make her mirror take a second place."
(Ovid, On Facial Cosmetics.51)
Once glassblowing became commonplace in Italy during the Augustan era, most Roman cosmetic bottles (unguentaria) were mass produced. This one does, however, stand out in the crowd, because of its delicacy of shape and color. Its white spiral decoration was one of the most fashionable decorative motifs for smaller items of glassware during the mid 1st century A.D.
Small glass spheres were sometimes used to store perfumed oils, the contents being kept fresh by melting shut the filling hole at the top. It is easy to imagine how the elegant form of our unguentarium was created simply by stretching out one of these spheres, at both the top and the bottom.
Sphere unguentaria, variously colored and decorated
From Hermesdorf, in Germany