A Romano-Egyptian 'Cotton Reel' unguentarium in thick-cast, mottled, teal-coloured glass. The flask has a wide everted flat rim, with a relatively tall neck, and stands on a flat base.
Circa 1st Century AD
Height 6.8 cms (2.7 ins)
Condition: Very fine condition with areas of light iridescence; minor accretions inside and out.
Similar item: Ancient Glass at the Newark Museum (USA), item 50.1836.
The shape of this unguentarium is characteristic of Roman Egypt: the thick walls creating a durable container with a very small capacity. Unguentaria were amongst the most common objects of Roman blown glass: produced in large numbers, they were items of every day use for keeping expensive unguents and cosmetic oils which would have been gathered from all corners of the expansive Roman Empire. By the 1st century AD, the technique of glass-blowing had revolutionised the art of glass-making, allowing for the production of small medicine, incense, and perfume containers in new forms. The small body and mouth allowed the user carefully to pour and control the amount of liquid dispensed, and glass was the material of choice for storing the oils because it was not porous.
Romano-Egyptian 'Cotton Reel' unguentarium
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