Height: 5.500 cm
Diameter: 12.900 cm
Greece and Rome
Green glass bowl
From Vaison, Vaucluse, Gaul (modern France)
Probably made in Italy, about 25 BC-AD 50
A typical piece of mould-formed glass tableware
During the reign of the first Roman Emperor, Augustus (27 BC-AD 14), the invention of the technique of blowing revolutionized the glass industry. Nonetheless, non-blown glass continued to be produced on quite a large scale until the middle of the first century AD. The geographer Strabo, writing in the early first century AD, talks of the glassworkers of the city of Rome being responsible for certain innovations in colour and production. Certainly the Italians delighted in coloured glass and used it for tableware, normally in single colours, often translucent greens or blues. This mould-formed carinated bowl belongs to this group.
Mould-forming involved forcing molten glass into an open mould of the required shape. After cooling, the surfaces were normally ground and polished. This was the technique used for this bowl and indeed for most of the single-colour glass tableware from the early Italian glasshouses. Many of the shapes of non-blown tableware resemble Roman fine pottery vessels and some, including this carinated variety, were made in silver as well.
H. Tait (ed.), Five thousand years of glass-1, 2nd paperback edition (London, The British Museum Press, 1999)
V. Tatton-Brown and W. Gudenrath, Catalogue of Greek and Roman g (London, The British Museum Press, forthcoming)