Ancient Roman glass perfume bottles or unguentaria, free-blown and mosaic cane glass

Ancient Roman glass unguentaria
(perfume bottles and flasks)

By the 1st century AD, the technique of glass-blowing revolutionized the art of glass-making and allowed for the production of small medicine, incense, and perfume containers in new forms. Glass unguentaria, bottles & vessels of various shapes were manufactured with blow-pipes, free-blown, or mould-blown, and were prevalent throughout the ancient Roman Empire, from Egypt to Cologne. Most of these were blown from monochrome transparent glass and, rarely, from pre-manufactured mosaic canes. Some scholars & collectors view the unguentarium (balsamarium) as a lacrimarium (tear vial) that was to be buried with the deceased, although there is no scientific archeological evidence to support this to date.

525
Roman glass bottle
Eastern Mediterranean or Italy
First half of I century A. D.

Globular body with slightly flattened base, slightly concave bottom; tubular neck with tooled constriction at bottom; rim folded out and in, beveled on top. Assembled from lengths of cane and blown. Marbled mosaic pattern formed from large, irregularly shaped sections of a single cane in a golden- brown ground with opaque white, different shades of opaque blue and yellow parallel lines. Several small pieces are mended and some stabilized cracks, but no restoration or foreign material.
Height 4.5"(11.4 cm).

Christie's Antiquities of New York, 12 June 2002, lot 181.
Published in: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unguentarium
For similar published archaeological examples see:
-Hayes J. W. Roman and Pre-Roman Glass in the Royal Ontario Museum. Toronto, 1975, cat. 81;
-Kunina N. Ancient Glass in the Hermitage Collection. ARS Publishers, LTD, St. Petersburg, 1997, cat.101;
-Grose D.F. The Toledo Museum of Art. Early Ancient Glass. Hudson Hill Press, New York, 1989, cat. 614;
-Matheson S. B. Ancient Glass in the Yale University Art Gallery. Yale University Art Gallery, 1980, cat.68;

$ 8000

1214
Roman glass perfume bottle
Eastern Mediterranean or Italy
Early to mid 1st century A. D.

Ovoid body with slightly concave bottom; tubular neck with tooled constriction at bottom; spreading rim with flattened fold on top. Assembled from lengths of cane and blown. Marbled mosaic pattern formed from large, irregularly shaped sections of a single cane in a golden- brown ground with opaque white, different shades of opaque blue and opaque white. Intact, short stabilized crack on rim/neck.
Thin film of iridescence.
Height 3.3"(8.5 cm).

For similar published archaeological examples see:
-The Toledo Museum of Art. Early Ancient Glass. Hudson Hill Press, New York, 1989, cat. 615;
-Kunina N. Ancient Glass in the Hermitage Collection. ARS Publishers, LTD, St. Petersburg, 1997, cat. #102;
-Calvi, M.C. I Vetri Romani del Museo di Aquileia, 1968, pl.5;

$ 6000

Ancient Roman glass bottle from Rhineland Cologne with engraved bands

1391
Engraved Roman glass flask
Rhineland or Gaul
Second half of III century A. D.

Clear colorless glass. Spherical body with slightly flattened base and slightly concave bottom; tubular neck with tooled indent around base. Rim intentionally sliced off  and reheated. Engraved ornamental bands of multiple parallel lines: on the neck, and four bands on the body. Iridescence of different thickness layers in places. Intact. 
Height  4.3 " (11cm), diameter 2.8” (7.2 cm)
For published archaeological examples see: 
-F. Fremersdorf, E. Polonyi- Fremersdorf, 1984. Die farblosen Gläser der frühyeit in Koln. 2. Und 3. Jahrhundert. Der archäologischen gesellschaft und dem Römisch Germanischen Museum Köln, p. 38 catalog # 92, 93, 95, 98.
-Kunina N. Ancient Glass in the Hermitage Collection. ARS Publishers, LTD, St. Petersburg, 1997, catalog # 225-226. 

$ 900

Roman glass candlestick unguentarium

1388RU
Roman glass unguentarium 
Syro-Palestinian region
Second half of II century A. D.

Colorless glass, transparent. Very long cylindrical neck with rim folded over on top. Tube is swelling out at bottom to form a discoid body, deeply hollowed underneath, decreasing capacity. Pontil mark on the bottom. Variegated iridescence. Intact. 
Height  5.7 " (14.5 cm). 
For published examples see:
-Kunina N. Ancient Glass in the Hermitage Collection. ARS Publishers, LTD, St. Petersburg, 1997, cat. 372-375.
-Hayes J. W. Roman and Pre-Roman Glass in the Royal Ontario Museum. Toronto, 1975, cat. 264;
-Vessberg’s type “candlestick unguentarium”. 
-Metropolitan Museum Accession Number 74.51.19:  Glass perfume bottle

$ 275

1212   Sold
Roman glass bottle
Eastern Mediterranean
Early-mid 1 century A.D.

327   Sold
Miniature perfume bottle
Eastern Mediterranean
Early to mid I century A. D.

1200   Sold
Roman glass unguentarium
Second half of I century A. D.

Ancient Roman clear glass balsamarium, 1st century AD

1383RU
Roman glass unguentarium 
Mid II century A. D.

Light blue-green glass, transparent, with bubbles. Tubular, swelling out at bottom to form a conical body; slightly pushed in base; slight widening towards top with spreading rim folded over on top and pressed flat. Bluish and lilac iridescence. Intact. 
Height  4.9" (12.6 cm). 
For similar published archaeological examples see:
Kunina N. Ancient Glass in the Hermitage Collection. ARS Publishers, LTD, St. Petersburg, 1997, cat. 365; 
Hayes J. W. Roman and Pre-Roman Glass in the Royal Ontario Museum. Toronto, 1975, cat. 236; 
Matheson S. B. Ancient Glass in the Yale University Art Gallery. Yale University Art Gallery, 1980, cat. 157.
Metropolitan Museum Accession Number: 17.190.104 

$ 225

1201   Sold
Roman glass unguentarium
Second half of I century A. D.

1208   Sold
Roman glass unguentarium
Second half of I century A. D.

1198   Sold
Roman glass unguentarium
Second half of I century A. D.

Ancient thick glass balsamarium from Roman times

1384RU
Roman glass balsamarium 
Second half of II century A. D.

Thick-walled, light blue-green glass. Tubular, swelling out at bottom to form a conical body, base wide, with deep conical hollowing underneath. Tubular neck with constriction; spreading rim with flattened fold on top. Creamy crust, iridescence. Intact. 
Height 5.0" (12.8 cm). 
For published examples see:
Hayes J. W. Roman and Pre-Roman Glass in the Royal Ontario Museum. Toronto, 1975, cat. 262;
Crowfoot G.M. Samaria-Sebaste III, The objects from Samaria, London, 1957, 409, fig. 94.1; 
Calvi, M.C. I Vetri Romani del Museo di Aquileia, 1968, nos. 284-286, pl. m,1;
Metropolitan Museum Accession Number: 34.132.33

$ 275

1199   Sold
Roman glass unguentarium
Second half of I century A. D.

1216   Sold
Roman glass unguentarium
Second half of I century A. D.

1196   Sold
Roman glass unguentarium
Second half of I century A. D.

Ancient Roman miniature glass lacrimarium "tear-container"

1385RU
Roman miniature flask 
Eastern Mediterranean
Early- Mid I century A.D.

Clear glass with light blue tint. Compressed spherical body, slightly kicked base and tubular neck; overhanging rim, folded over on top and pressed flat. Iridescence of a different thickness. Rim was slightly deformed during the manufacture. Small internal crack on the bottom, otherwise intact.
Height 1.5” (3.8 cm). 
For published examples see:
Hayes J. W. Roman and Pre-Roman Glass in the Royal Ontario Museum. Toronto, 1975, cat. 99, 217;
Matheson S. B. Ancient Glass in the Yale University Art Gallery. Yale University Art Gallery, 1980, cat. 89.
Metropolitan Museum Accession Number: 74.51.5787

$ 175

1197   Sold
Roman glass unguentarium
Second half of I century A. D. 

1206   Sold
Roman glass unguentarium
Late I- early II century A. D. 

1211 Sold
Roman glass unguentarium
Second half of III century A. D. 

Ancient Roman clear glass container

1386RU
Roman glass flask 
I century A. D.

Clear glass with light green tint. Tubular, swelling out at bottom to form a spherical body; slightly pushed in base; slight widening towards top with spreading rim folded over on top; Intact. 
Height  3.9" (10 cm).
For published examples see:
Hayes J. W. Roman and Pre-Roman Glass in the Royal Ontario Museum. Toronto, 1975, cat. 238;
Metropolitan Museum Accession Number: 74.51.88; 74.51.23; 74.51.64.

$ 275

1210   Sold
Roman glass unguentarium
Second half of I century A. D.

323   Sold
Roman glass unguentarium
Late I century A. D. 

332   Sold
Roman glass unguentarium
I century A. D.

1219
Large glass unguentarium
Late I - early II century A. D.

Colorless glass, transparent. Tubular, swelling out at bottom to form a large domed body, with wide flat base; cylindrical neck, spreading rim folded on top and beveled along inner edge. Slight tooling-mark at junction of neck and body. Variegated iridescence. Intact.
H. 7.6" (19.3 cm).

Parallels: Hayes J. W. Roman and Pre-Roman Glass in the Royal Ontario Museum. Toronto, 1975, cat. 254, 490; Harden type i; Vessberg O. The Swedish Cyprus Expedition IV Part 3, The Hellenistic and Roman Periods in Cyprus. Lund, 1956, fig. 49.11; Harden D.B. The Glass, RDAC 1940-48, fig.24 m, g.

$ 1000

1202 Sold
Roman glass unguentarium
Late I- early II century A. D.

12   Sold
Roman glass unguentarium
Late I � early II century A. D.

36 Sold
Roman glass unguentarium
Late I-early II century A. D. 

Roman glass perfume bottle "unguentarium" from Syro-Palestinian region

1387RU
Roman glass perfume bottle 
Syro-Palestinian region
Second half of I century A. D.

Clear glass. Tubular neck with slight widening towards top with spreading rim folded over on top and with tooled angle at the bottom, swelling out to form a double sphere body; slightly pushed in base. Intact. There are dry roots inside. 
Height  4.3" (11 cm). 
For published archaeological examples see:
Kunina N. Ancient Glass in the Hermitage Collection. ARS Publishers, LTD, St. Petersburg, 1997, cat. 366, 367;
Love for antiquity. Selections from Joukowsky Collection. Archaeologia Transatlantica VII, 1985, p.122, cat. 103.
Y. Israeli. The wonders of Ancient Glass at Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 1998. Israel Museum, Jerusalem, p. 28.

$ 275

1207   Sold
Roman glass unguentarium
II century A. D.

121   Sold
Roman glass unguentarium
II century A. D.

Ancient glass bottle of Syro-Palestinian origin with iridescence

1389RU
Roman glass flask 
Syro-Palestinian region
I century A. D.

Clear glass with light green tint. Tubular, swelling out at bottom to form a spherical slightly off center body; flattened base with slightly concave bottom; spreading rim folded out and in, beveled on top. Variegated iridescence. Intact. 
Height  4.2" (10.6 cm).
For published examples see: Hayes J. W. Roman and Pre-Roman Glass in the Royal Ontario Museum. Toronto, 1975, cat. 229; 

$ 325

325   Sold
Roman glass unguentarium
Mid II century A. D. 

324   Sold
Roman glass unguentarium
Late II to early III century A. D. 

1217 Sold
Miniature glass unguentarium
V-VI century A. D. 

Ancient glass candlestick unguentarium  from Roman times

1390RU
Roman glass unguentarium
Late II - early III century A. D.

Colorless glass, transparent. Tubular, swelling out at bottom to form a large domed body with shoulders, with wide base with deep conical hollowing underneath; cylindrical neck, spreading rim folded on top and pressed along inner edge. Tooling-mark at junction of neck and body. Variegated iridescence. Intact with minor chip on the rim. 
H.  4.9" (12.5 cm). 
For published archaeological examples see:
Hayes J. W. Roman and Pre-Roman Glass in the Royal Ontario Museum. Toronto, 1975, catalog # 262; Vessberg’s type “candlestick unguentarium” type IV.  

$ 275

1209
Small unguentarium
II century A. D.

Colorless with light green tinge, transparent, with bubbles. Small rounded body curving up to form a cylindrical neck, spreading rim with flattened fold on top. Rounded bottom. Remains of a yellowish crust inside, iridescence in places. Intact. Comes with custom made stand.
H. 3.4" (8.6 cm).

$ 200

1204
Roman glass unguentarium
2 century A. D.

Light green glass, transparent, with bubbles. Tubular, swelling out at bottom to form a conical body, with deep conical hollowing underneath; slight widening towards top with spreading rim folded on top and beveled along inner edge. Dark crust in places, some iridescence. Intact.
H. 4.7" (11.9 cm).

See: Hayes J. W. Roman and Pre-Roman Glass in the Royal Ontario Museum. Toronto, 1975, cat. 237; Kunina N. Ancient Glass in the Hermitage Collection. ARS Publishers, LTD, St. Petersburg, 1997, cat. 365.

$ 250

1203
Roman glass unguentarium
Mid II century A. D.

Colorless glass, transparent, with bubbles. Tubular, swelling out at bottom to form a small conical body, pushed in base; slight widening towards top with spreading rim folded irregularly on top. Creamy film with faint iridescence. Mended in the middle (one seam).
H. 5.7" (14.5 cm).

For similar published unguentaria see:
Hayes J. W. Roman and Pre-Roman Glass in the Royal Ontario Museum. Toronto, 1975, cat. 236;
Matheson S. B. Ancient Glass in the Yale University Art Gallery. Yale University Art Gallery, 1980, cat. 155.
Calvi, M.C. I Vetri Romani del Museo di Aquileia, 1968, pl.3.
M.C.Root, Wondrous glass. Reflections on the world of Rome, 1982, Kesley Museum of Archaeology, pl. 9 d

$ 175

1218
Roman glass unguentarium
Second half of II century A. D.

Colorless, with light blue-green tinge, transparent. Tubular, swelling out at bottom to form a conical body, base wide, hollowed; tooling-mark halfway up the body. Tubular neck with constriction; spreading rim with flattened fold on top. Creamy crust, variegated iridescence. Intact.
H. 5.8" (14.8 cm).
For similar published unguentaria see:
Hayes J. W. Roman and Pre-Roman Glass in the Royal Ontario Museum. Toronto, 1975, cat. 262;
Crowfoot G.M. Samaria-Sebaste III, The objects from Samaria, London, 1957, 409, fig. 94.1;
Calvi, M.C. I Vetri Romani del Museo di Aquileia, 1968, nos. 284-286, pl. m,1.
Fleming, Roman Glass. Reflections of everyday life, 1997, University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Antropology, pl. 49.

$ 400

1205
Roman glass unguentarium
II to early III century A. D.

Colorless glass, transparent, with bubbles. Tubular, swelling out at bottom to form a small bulbous body, with conical hollowing underneath; slight widening towards top, spreading rim with flattened fold on top. Variegated iridescence. Small (oval, 5 x 7 mm) body fragment missing, otherwise intact. Comes with custom made stand.
H. 4.6" (11.7 cm).

Parallels: Hayes J. W. Roman and Pre-Roman Glass in the Royal Ontario Museum. Toronto, 1975, cat. 227,498; Crowfoot G.M. Samaria-Sebaste III, The objects from Samaria, London, 1957, 412, fig. 95.3; Clairmont C.W. The Excavations at Dura-Europos, Final Report IV, part V, The Glass Vessels, 1963, no. 710,711, pl. XXXVI.

$ 175

Additional references to sold glass:

Auth S.H. Ancient glass at Newark Museum from Eugene Schaefer Collection of Antiquities. Newark, N.J.,1976, cat.# 422.
Lancel S. Verrerie antique de Tipasa. Paris, 1967, no.98, pl. VII, 5; 
Berti F., Carandini A. Ostia II, Rome, 1970, 77, figs.236-238, 209; 
Fremersdorf F. Die Denkmäler des römischen Köln IV, Köln, 1958, pl.82 i.
Fleming S. Roman glass. PA,1997, pg. 29; 
Fortuna M.T. I vetri soffiati della necropoli di Akko, JGS 7. 1965, 18-19, figs.2,4. 
Abdul-Hak. Contribution d'une decouverte archeologique recente a l'etude de la verrerie syrienne a l'epoque romaine. JGS 7, 1965, 28, fig. 4, 8; 
Bucovala M. Vase antice de sticla la Tomis. Constanta, 1968, no. 171.

Nina Kunina
Ancient Glass in the Hermitage Collection

The State Hermitage ARS Publishers, LTD, St. Petersburg, 1997
Click here for details

$60