A Roman Glass Miniature Juglet, Late Roman Imperial Period, ca. late 4th century CE

Object No: RG2004

$350 USD

This lovely little Roman glass vessel belongs to a poorly-understood class of miniature glass objects from the late Roman period. These tiny gems were usually made in blue glass and unlike most glass of the period, they were hand-worked probably by bead makers, rather than blown.

This example has a blue glass handle applied to a clear-molded main body, a knob below the handle and an attached flat blue knob at the base. There are nice traces of iridescence to the body. It would have been worn as an amulet symbolizing cool water for the afterlife.

Background:  There is some conjecture that these glass vessels were actually early Christian amulets taken as relics and/or souvenirs from holy areas. In "Roman, Byzantine, and early Medieval Glass, the Ernesto Wolf Collection, 10 BCE-700 CE," Stern argues for this interpretation based on the distribution of these objects from the Holy Land to western Europe, which supports production in the Middle East and distribution to the Christian world. A vessel of solid blue glass is seen in Christie's Antiquities London, April 1998, lot #45, and was described as "Two Byzantine Blue Glass Amulets Representing the Sacred Vessel of Joseph of Arimathea."

Gustavus Eisen made a similar attribution to a parallel vessel seen in his monumental study, "Glass, Its Origin, History, Chronology, Technic and Classification to the Sixteenth Century, page 520." According to the Christian literary tradition, the vessel of Joseph of Arimathea was used to catch the blood of Christ at the crucifixion. This story provided the basis for the Medieval romance cycles that gave us the legend of the Holy Grail.

For related example see: Birgit Schlick-Nolte "Reflections on Ancient Glass from the Borowski Collection" (2002) pl. V-33, p. 78.

Dimensions: Length: 3/4 inch (1.9 cm)

Condition: With minor losses to the surface, overall intact and in good condition.

Provenance: Private Maryland collection, acquired from the trade in the early 1990s.


Sands of Time provides a lifetime, unconditional guarantee of authenticity and provenance. Every artifact purchased from us is accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity, stating culture, provenance and age. Furthermore, we conduct due diligence to ensure the item, to the best of our knowledge, has not been illegally obtained from an excavation, architectural monument, public institution or private property. Wherever possible, reference is made to existing collections or publications.

Sands of Time Antiquities are proud to uphold the following Code of Conduct:

  • We undertake to make, to the best of our ability, all purchases in good faith.
  • We undertake not to purchase or sell objects until we have established, to the best of our ability, that such objects were not stolen from excavations, architectural monuments, public institutions or private property.
  • We will not dismember and sell separately parts of one complete object.
  • We undertake to the best of ability to keep objects together that were originally meant to be kept together.
  • As appropriate we will keep photographic records of objects prior to repair and restoration, to be honest and open by describing in writing the amount of repair and restoration undertaken to a prospective purchaser.
  • To the best of our ability, we guarantee authenticity and provenance of all objects offered for sale.
Sands of Time offer a very flexible layaway payment plan for all objects offered for sale on our website.  Here's how it works:
  • Deposit:  A deposit of 15% of the total price is required upon purchase.  
  • Checkout:  Order through our website and select the "layaway" option at checkout.
  • Flexibility:   You are not restricted to a set monthly payment; pay what you wish when you wish, however your balance must be paid within six months of the order date or you risk forfeiture.
  • Title:  Property title remains with Sands of Time Antiquities, Inc. until payment is made in full.
  • Shipment:  Once payment is complete, we will ship your order by the next business day.  

Should you cancel your layaway purchase, a 15% restocking-fee will apply. If you exchange or trade-up the objet purchased while it is on layaway, the restocking fee for the original purchase will not apply.  If you would like to take advantage of our layaway system or would like to discuss an alternative option that better suits your budget, please contact us via e-mail or call 1-202-342-0518. 

You may also like

Recently viewed