About this artwork
Glass in the Roman World
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 A.D., 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.
This bowl contains yellow threads wound around colorless canes of glass that were then fused together. The spiral pattern in the body of bowls of this kind has given them the name network mosaic bowls. Most known examples were recovered in 1900 from a shipwreck that probably occurred around 80 B.C. off the southwest coast of Greece near Antikythera. The discovery of similar examples in Syria, Crete, Greece, and southern Italy has led to the theory that these distinctive bowls were made in the eastern Mediterranean.
To create this bowl's lacelike patterns, canes of colorless glass twisted with threads of yellow glass were softened with heat and then coiled along the inside of a cup-shaped mold. To finish the bowl, a separate cane was laid along the rim and a foot was added to the underside.
Currently Off View
- Ancient and Byzantine Art
- Ancient Roman
- 100 BC–50 BC
- Glass, mosaic glass technique
- 5 × 9.4 × 9.4 cm (2 × 3 3/4 × 3 3/4 in.)
- Gift of Theodore W. and Frances S. Robinson