Bowl

A work made of glass, mosaic glass technique.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of glass, mosaic glass technique.

Date:

Early 1st century BC

Artist:

Roman; probably Eastern Mediterranean

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.

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Ancient and Byzantine Art

Artist

Ancient Roman

Title

Bowl

Origin

Italy

Date

100 BC–50 BC

Medium

Glass, mosaic glass technique

Dimensions

5 × 9.4 × 9.4 cm (2 × 3 3/4 × 3 3/4 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Theodore W. and Frances S. Robinson

Reference Number

1947.888

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 .

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