Free-blown glass

Free-blown glassFree-blown glass

The technique of glass blowing was still unknown in the Hellenistic period. The precious free-blown glass dating from the first century A.D. quite often still imitates the colourful decorations of mould-pressed glass. In order to reach that effect, the half-blown piece of glass, while still attached to the blowpipe, was rolled over a marver on which coloured glass splinters were laid out, for instance. It was then fired again, causing the splinters to melt into the glass. Only at that stage the glass was blown into its definite shape, making the splinters grow into large, colourful stains. However, the inside of the glass kept its base colour, usually dark blue.

The decorations

This decoration is especially suited to closed shapes like amphoras, because the monochrome inside remains invisible. Open shapes like goblets usually feature a white band on the outside of the rim.

The beakers

These two glass beakers have two tiny ears on their shoulders. The amber-coloured piece is said to originate from Olbia, an ancient city on the Black Sea. It is speckled with red, white, blue and green glass droplets. Sometimes this beaker shape is called carchesium, derived from a Greek term. Such decorative glasses were intended specially for use at banquets.

Object: beaker
Dating from: 1-100
Material: glass 
Size: 15 cm ; ø 15.5 cm
Origin: Russia
Collection: Classical antiquity
Code: I 1935/11.1