A Roman Glass Toilet Bottle, Roman Imperial Period, ca. 1st century CE
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Blown from translucent amber glass, the bottle features a softly rounded body and concave base, a long tapering neck, and everted rim used to control the pouring of liquid.
This bottle represents the most common group of ancient Roman glass vessels usually called “toilet bottles” or unguentaria in Latin (sing. unguentarium). They served as containers for different kinds of perfumed oils used in bathing and personal grooming but also for scented powders needed in cosmetic preparations for pharmaceutical ointments and balsams. The function of the vessel is recognizable in its design – the bulbous body contains an amount of liquid and the long slender neck helps to dispense it. The toilet bottles are found mostly without corks or stoppers, as these were likely made of organic material and did not survive, otherwise the content would not be prevented from evaporating or spilling.
Condition: Intact and in excellent condition overall with no chips, cracks or breaks.
Dimensions: Height: 3 1/4 inches (8.3 cm)
Provenance: Estate of Dr. Seymour Ira Schwartz (1928 – 2020), Rochester, New York. Dr. Schwartz, an eminent surgeon, and prolific polymath was the founding editor of the 1,800-page surgery textbook, first published in 1969, that became a bible for medical students. He was one of the most prolific and honored surgeons in American history with further successes outside of the field of medicine as a renowned author and cartographic historian.