Skip to Content

Open today 10–11 a.m. members | 11 a.m.–6 p.m. public. Learn more.

Flask in the Shape of a Date

A work made of glass, mold-blown technique.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

Image actions

  • A work made of glass, mold-blown technique.

Date:

1st century

Artist:

Roman; Syria

About this artwork

Initially affordable only among the wealthy, glass was used in ancient Rome as containers for oils, perfume, and tablewares. The variety of glass-making techniques reveals the changing tastes and fashions over the centuries. During the 1st century AD, cast glass was a novel form that was a luxury for the Roman household, but by the end of the century, the innovation of blown glass allowed for less labor-intensive and less expensive production, which meant people of lesser means could afford it. Blown glass became so popular it nearly supplanted ceramic and even bronze wares in the home.

With the invention of glass blowing came the possibility of making molds to produce multiples, enabling mass production of popular designs. Whimsical shapes, like this date, enjoyed great popularity. While most molds were made of clay or plaster, it is likely that the mold for this flask was made from an actual dried date. Dates were not only a staple of the Mediterranean diet, used to sweeten food and wine, but were also a symbolic gift given at the New Year.

Status

Currently Off View

Department

Arts of the Ancient Mediterranean and Byzantium

Culture

Ancient Roman

Title

Flask in the Shape of a Date

Origin

Syria

Date

1 CE–100 CE

Medium

Glass, mold-blown technique

Dimensions

7.5 × 3 × 3 cm (3 × 1 1/8 × 1 1/8 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of H. H. Kohlsaat

Reference Number

1891.32

IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

Learn more.

https://api.artic.edu/api/v1/artworks/119084/manifest.json

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

Share

Sign up for our enewsletter to receive updates.

Learn more

Image actions

Share