Glass cup

Found at Kourion (modern Episkopí), Cyprus
Made in the eastern Mediterranean about AD 70-117

Copied in pottery

This fine cup was found in Tomb 114 at Kourion in Cyprus and is of clear glass. From about AD 70, much of the finest glassware was made of intentionally decolourized glass. Among the first series of vessels of this completely clear glass were pieces decorated with facet cut designs. They were made about AD 70-117, at the same time as a series of non-blown vessels with cut decoration including facets. Most of the blown versions were cups like this or tall beakers, but some other shapes were made. They were very popular in Italy and the western provinces of the Roman Empire, but this example is not alone in coming from the east.

Glass shapes are often similar to the shapes of fine pottery vessels, and it is usually assumed that the glass copies the pottery. However, a pottery beaker of Gaulish sigillata (red slip ware, made in what is now France) is very similar to this cup in both form and decoration. It was found at Le Mans in excavations of about 1912, and was evidently made at Lezoux in central Gaul between about AD 100 and 145. In this case the pottery imitates the glass.

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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: 9.500 cm
Diameter: 9.500 cm (rim)
Diameter: 9.500 cm (rim)

Museum number

GR 1896.2-1.200


Miss E.T. Turner Bequest excavations


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