Sand, soda, and lime: mundane and magical

Dara Mayers - 02/05/2020

Sand, soda, and lime: mundane and magical
Glass is remarkable material. Liquid and solid, sturdy and brittle, mundane and magical. Infinitely fragile pieces of ancient Roman glass that have miraculously survived for thousands of years often serve as an entrée for people new to collecting. And those who collect glass often become obsessed; the endless forms, the vibrant colors, the fairy dust patinas! Just one more piece...and one more...

We are happy to share with you a remarkable collection from such a collector.
 
This impressive piece, a thread decorated jar, is a classic example of a type produced by the late Roman craftsmen of the Eastern Mediterranean. The zigzag rigaree threading around the rim is both functional and decorative: it enhances the beauty and strength of the object. A jar like this could have been used in various parts of a Roman home; to store culinary spices, medicinal herbs or cosmetic ingredients. It has grown more beautiful with age; it's surface has scattered iridescence and heavy deposits.
Although probably discovered in the mid-first century BCE, free blowing was not used widely until the following century. With the blowing technique glass went from something that was primarily for the upper classes, to abundant throughout much of the Roman world. Another free blown piece, which probably served as a perfume bottle, is a lustrous blue green and has both iridescence and archeological deposits.

 

Howard Nowes Ancient Art
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