Glass box

Probably from Sidon, Phoenicia (modern Lebanon)
Probably made about AD 25-50

An early Roman mould-blown glass vessel

This mould-blown box, a product of the Sidonian industry, belongs to the first series of Roman mould-blown vessels. There are eight panels on the side of the box divided by raised vertical lines. These lines have mouldings at top and bottom and perhaps imitate the thyrsos found in Dionysiac scenes. Four different designs are shown in the panels, each repeated once: a spoked circle with a triangle above; a palmette with a semicircle above; a lozenge enclosing a circle and dot, and a variant palmette with a semicircle above. On the bottom of the box concentric raised circles with a dot in the centre are surrounded by a frieze of overlapping leaves. The top of the lid has concentric circles surrounded by eight palmettes with other decoration around the edge.

A few more of these attractive little lidded boxes are known, and the majority are of opaque white glass like this example. The motifs of the mould-blown decoration have parallels on some of the mould-blown glasses signed by Ennion, suggesting that the boxes were perhaps made alongside the mould-blown glasses from the glasshouses of Ennion and his fellows.



Find in the collection online

More information


H. Tait (ed.), Five thousand years of glass-1, 2nd paperback edition (London, The British Museum Press, 1999)

D.B. Harden and others, The British Museum: masterpiec (London, 1968)


Height: 8.500 cm (total)
Diameter: 5.200 cm (rim)
Diameter: 5.200 cm (rim)
Height: 8.500 cm (total)

Museum number

GR 1893.10-16.1


Formerly in the collection of J.A. Durighello


Find in the collection online

Search highlights

There are over 4,000 highlight objects to explore