Glass flask

Roman, AD 200-300
From Cologne, Germany, perhaps the Krefeld district

A typical piece from the glass industry of the Rhineland

Excavations at Cologne in the Rhineland suggest that there was a glasshouse here quite early in the first century AD. It was perhaps founded in AD 50 when the emperor Claudius (AD 41-54) made the town a colony at the request of his wife, Agrippina the Younger.

This flask has an opaque yellow spiral trail on the neck between the handles, as well as single opaque yellow trails above and below the pattern of tooled and milled snake-thread trails.

'Snake-thread' trails take their name from their appearance. Most vessels with this type of trailing date from the third century AD. The technique seems to have been introduced from the east, where the vessels of greenish or colourless (clear) glass are normally decorated with trails of the same colour as the body. The examples from the Rhineland usually, but not always, have trails of different colours to the body, as on this example.

The flask has been broken and mended, and the foot-stand is missing.

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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: 20.000 cm
Width: 10.600 cm

Museum number

GR 1868.5-1.257


Bequeathed by Felix Slade


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