Jump to content

Ancient Glass

Phil Anthos

Recommended Posts

"I shall scent my skin all over to attract my lovers... It is better for a courtesan to know the Lydian perfumes than the customs of the Peloponnesus".
~ 'Bilitis' (Pierre Louÿs)

My wife collected perfume bottles. Often at coin shows while I was browsing all the numismatic delights she would look for bargain box antiquities, little votives and the like. So it seemed natural for her to combine the two interests and she picked up a few nice ancient glass bottles along the way. I have since donated them to the local university museum. 

Now let's see yours!


Circa 1st-3rd century AD
10.15cm tall.
Roman glass test tube unguentarium, possibly from Syria. Fully intact with a slight blue tint.

~ Peter 


Edited by Phil Anthos
  • Like 8
  • Cookie 1
  • Heart Eyes 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Phil Anthos changed the title to Ancient Glass
  • Benefactor

A beautiful specimen!

A couple of my own ancient Roman glass bottles/vases:

Roman, pale blue glass vessel w/squat body & broad neck, inside covered in silver-colored iridescence, ca. 5th Cent. AD. 65 mm H, 48 mm W (at widest point). Purchased 01/08/2018, Helios Gallery, Wiltshire, UK.

Blue Roman glass jar 1.jpg

Roman, 1st Century AD, blue/purple glass vase with wide folded rim and piriform [pear-shaped] body; surface has areas of vivid violet and blue iridescence. 12.4 cm high, 5.7 cm wide. Purchased Jan. 2021 from Helios Gallery, UK. Ex. Collection of Eric Moussel (1953-2019), Nogent-sur-Marne, France, acquired in Paris.

Dealer's photos:

1 Roman Glass vase Helios Gallery.jpg

2  Roman Glass vase Helios Gallery.jpg

3  Roman Glass vase Helios Gallery.jpg

With my own camera, even though I can see the violet/purple with my eyes in certain light at certain angles, I couldn't capture it in photos. Instead, it looks more dark blue, but that's accurate as well depending on the lighting. I hope you can see why I think it looks like the night sky:

Blue Roman Vase 1.jpg

Blue Roman Vase 3.jpg

Roman Blue Vase 4.jpg

Although I've since moved it, here's what it looked like originally where I kept it in my living room with some other antiquities:

Blue Roman Vase w. Ushabit & Sekhmet 1.jpg

Blue Roman Vase with other antiquities 1.jpg

Note the far plainer Roman glass vase on the far left of the bottom shelf in the background.

The blue/purple vase is certainly the most colorful and beautiful of the several ancient Roman glass vases I own, and one of my favorite artifacts overall.

Edited by DonnaML
  • Like 7
  • Heart Eyes 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh my, that is stunning either way! And yes it does look celestial. 

Here's a tiny little thing...

Roman Glass Vessel

Circa 4th-5th century AD
5.5cm tall, 4.2cm wide.
Nice Roman perfume bottle with flared rim, pinched neck and globular body, probably of Mid-Eastern origin.
Fully intact with a pale yellow tint.

~ Peter 


Edited by Phil Anthos
  • Like 6
  • Thanks 1
  • Heart Eyes 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Then with fine oil, she smoothed herself, and this, her scented oil, unstoppered in the bronze-floored house of Zeus, cast fragrance over earth and heaven.”
~ Homer (Iliad 14, 142-145)

Candlestick Unguentarium

Circa 1st-3rd Century AD
10.9cm tall.
Roman glass candlestick unguentarium with flared rim and flattened base, possibly from Syria.
Fully intact with nice mottled green iridescence.

~ Peter 


Edited by Phil Anthos
  • Like 7
  • Heart Eyes 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...