A Roman Glass Bowl, Roman Imperial, ca. 1st century AD

This small footed bowl is made of blown glass; it is transparent with greenish reflects; the superficial iridescence is due to the exterior conditions and weathering. The shape is hemispherical with a slightly flaring upper wall, while the lip is rounded. The decoration is limited to horizontal lines in relief of various thicknesses. Modeled after its Hellenistic counterparts, this bowl is one of the most largely widespread forms in Roman archaeological contexts during the first centuries of the Imperial period: it exists in countless variations (more or less high, with a high rim or a small lip, with or without a base, etc.) and in different kinds of glass (mosaic, opaque, transparent, etc.).  Our example belongs to a type which appeared around the late 1st century A.D.

For related examples see: Kunina N. Ancien Glass in the Hermitage Collection. ARS Publishers, Ltd, St. Petersburg, 1997, cat. #323; Hayes J. W. Roman and Pre-Roman Glass in the Royal Ontario Museum. Toronto, 1975, cat. # 652.

Dimensions:Diameter: 4 1/2 inches (11.4 cm)

Condition:Commencing at the rim, a hairline crack to the body with areas of bright areas of iridescence to the interior and scattered mineral accretions throughout, otherwise the bowl is intact and in very good condition overall.

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.


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