A Roman Aubergine Glass Bottle, 1st-2nd Century AD


This lovely bottle presents a fine glossy surface of translucent aubergine glass. The body is pear-shaped with flattened bottom, cylindrical neck, horizontally splayed rim. This bottle represents the most common group of ancient Roman glass vessels usually called as “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 survived, otherwise the content would not be prevented from evaporating or spilling.

Dimensions: Height:  4 1/2 inches (11.5 cm)

Condition:   Expected minor scratches to the exterior, this bottle is completely intact and in excellent condition overall.

Provenance: The William R. Crawford collection of Ancient Glass and Antiquities, acquired in Cyprus prior to 1972.  This piece is accompanied by an export license from Cyprus.   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. Exhibited:  Workhouse Art Center, Virginia, Glass National 2016, October, 2016- January 2017.

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