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Blue glass jar


Height: 7.300 cm
Diameter: 11.400 cm

Gift of David Christy

M&ME 1894,12-16,18

Prehistory and Europe

    Blue glass jar

    Anglo-Saxon, 7th century AD
    From the mound burial at Broomfield, Essex, England

    Decorated with a self-coloured lattice of trails

    This small, sturdy glass vessel is decorated with horizontal trails which are combed into a soft lattice pattern immediately below the shoulder. The jar has a plain, rounded rim below which is a short, upright neck that splays out into flat shoulders. The body falls in a gentle curve to a hollow base ornamented with another trail combed inwards to form a four-petalled rosette.

    The jar came from a high-status grave beneath a mound that was damaged by gravel working around 1888. The mound was subsequently excavated in 1894, when a fragment of a second blue glass jar and a gold and garnet inlay from the tongue of a lost buckle were also found.

    Blue jars of this type are thought to have been made at Faversham in Kent in the late sixth and early seventh centuries. Some were exported from the Kentish workshops to clients in other Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, as this example shows; others have been found as far afield as Norway. Fragments of an almost identical jar were found in Mound 2 in the royal cemetery at Sutton Hoo, which was the burial of a high-status man in a chamber sealed by a boat.

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

    H. Tait (ed.), Five thousand years of glass (London, The British Museum Press, 1991)

    R.L.S. Bruce-Mitford, The Sutton Hoo ship burial-3, vol. 1 (London, 1975)


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