Glass decorated with glass thread

Glass decorated with glass threadGlass decorated with glass thread

Glass objects like these are called unguentaria or balsamaria and were intended to hold cosmetics. These were scooped out by means of narrow sticks or spatulae. The shape of the bottles was strongly affected by fashion. They were made using the glassblowing technique and decorated with an overlay of glass thread.

The decorations

This specimen consists of four tubes blown in one go. The sides were pressed together crosswise, thus creating partitions. The glass thread decoration is a spiral-shaped overlay around the side. Besides that, there are four glass threads, one at each corner, fastened onto the side in loops. The handles consist of glass threads fastened on top of each other on the rim of the object.

The technique

Glass objects like these are products of the Syrian-Palestinian glass industry. Decorations in the shape of an overlay of glass threads were applied as early as the first century A.D. During the whole of the Roman era it remained a beloved decorative technique. These glass objects came from Deir Kanoun, in the vicinity of Tyre in Lebanon.

Object: Bottle
Dating from: 300-500
Material: Glass
Size: 24 cm
Origin: Mediterranean See
Collection: Near East
Code: B 1902/10.1