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 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 - the technique used to create this vessel - allowed for less labor-intensive and less expensive production and meant people of lesser means could afford it. Blown glass became so popular it nearly supplanted ceramic and even bronze wares in the home.
Colorless glass, like this beaker is made from, was particularly sought after because of its resemblance to rock crystal, a highly valued quartz stone that required special skills to cut decoration into its surface. Minerals are added to create different colors of glass, but clear glass must be decolorized, a process that was perfected in Rome.
Currently Off View
- Ancient and Byzantine Art
- Ancient Roman
- Beaker or Cup
- Roman Empire
- 1 AD–200 AD
- Glass, blown technique
- 7.6 × 7.5 × 7.5 cm (3 × 3 × 3 in.)
- Gift of Theodore W. and Frances S. Robinson