Glass jug (oinochoe)

Etruscan, about 675-650 BC
Made in Etruria (now in Lazio, Italy)

A typical product of Etruscan glassmakers

This blue glass oinochoe (jug) is a typical product of Etruscan glassmakers who seem to have been inspired by the Mesopotamian industry. It seems that a minor glass industry was established in central Italy (Etruria) in the later seventh and sixth centuries BC that may have began with direct contact with Mesopotamia.

When products from the Mediterranean core-formed glass industry flooded the Etruscan markets in the later sixth and fifth centuries BC, it seems that migrant Italian glassworkers moved northwards to the area of the Alps and sites on the Adriatic coast, where they made brooch runners of blue green and brown glass decorated with spikes drawn out from the walls.

Although this Etruscan perfume flask was formed around a core it is unlike the Mediterranean oinochoe series, which has trail decoration; like the runners threaded on bows of brooches this jug is decorated with spikes drawn out from the wall of the vessel.

Besides jugs, the Etruscan glassmakers produced other perfume flasks decorated with spikes in blue, brown or yellow glass. Rod-formed beads, brooches and bracelets were also produced, but these were decorated with the more usual coloured trails.

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More information


D. Williams, 'Greek potters and their descendants in Campania and southern Etruria, c. 720-630 BC' in Italian Iron Age artefacts i-6, Papers of the sixth British Museum classical colloqium (London, The British Museum Press, 1986), pp. 295-304

D.B. Harden, Catalogue of Greek and Roman-1 (London, The British Museum Press, 1981)

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

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


Height: 7.000 cm
Diameter: 3.700 cm (max.)

Museum number

GR 1848.8-3.69 (Glass 377)



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