A tall Roman Glass Ungentarium, Roman Imperial, 1st century CE
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This graceful bottle is a wonderful example of Roman glass. The glass itself is of a sea green hue, and is partially covered with iridescence and encrustation. The body of the glass is globular; the neck is tall, straight and slender, with a thickened out-turned rim. This bottle was formed by free-blowing, a process by which molten glass is inflated and then fashioned into a vessel by the artisan without the aid of mold. Thanks to the simplicity of its structure, vessels of this type are considered to be among the very first forms the glass makers learned to blow: for, the introduction of the glass blowing technique was an important and progressive technological revolution which took place about the mid-1st century BC in the Syro-Palestinian region from where it spread rapidly all around the Mediterranean.
For related examples see: Susan H. Auth "Ancient Glass at the Newark Museum from the Eugene Schaefer collection" (1976) Page 213, #417- 50.1690. and Hayes J., "Roman and Pre-Roman Glass in the Royal Ontario Museum" (1975) #262-265
Dimensions: Height: 5 7/8 inches (15 cm)
Condition: Like many glass vessels of this type, there is minor weathering and mineral accretions to both the interior and exterior, the glass is naturally translucent and there is scattered pale iridescence particularly to the body. It is intact and in very good condition overall with no chips, cracks or breaks.
Provenance: The William R. Crawford collection of Ancient Glass and Antiquities, acquired from the European trade in the 1950's and then by descent. William R. Crawford, a retired American career diplomat and expert on the Middle East and Cyprus, was Director of Arab-Israeli Affairs at the State Department between 1959-1964, and Deputy Chief of Mission in Cyprus thereafter. In the 1970's, he was ambassador to Yemen and then to Cyprus and later became principal deputy assistant secretary of state for Near East and South Asian affairs. He donated part of his collection to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts prior to his death in 2002.