A Roman Glass Sprinkler Bottle, Roman Imperial, late 1st - early 2nd century A.D.


The well proportioned shape of this pale blue/green glass bottle is composed of two elements: the rectangular, elongated body, with raised footless base, and the long, thin, slightly flared neck which ends with a small flat lip that was possibly sealed by a cork. Structurally, this bottle should be considered a variant of the sprinkler unguentarium, the famous small container created in the Hellenistic period, that served for storing and transporting perfumes, or perfumed oils, that were widely used in Classical antiquity both in daily life and in funeral ceremonies. This variant is relatively rare and appears to be found mainly in regions of the north of the Alps from the 3rd or 4th century A.D.

Dimensions: Height: 5 7/8 inches (15 cm)

Condition: There are areas of multi-colored iridescence to the exterior and mineral accretions to the interior, overall the vessel is intact and in very good condition with no 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.

Category: Glass, Under $1000

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