Glass: Shiny, hard, fragile - shattering in an instant or surviving for thousands of years-a rigid liquid that is worked in a molten state- too hot to touch, but often made by hand- molded, blown, cut, engraved, enameled, or painted. Of the craftsman, it demands the ultimate in steady nerves, skill, control, judgment, and spontaneity.
-Zerwick, Chloe. A Short History of Glass.
Glass, a material developed in the eastern Mediterranean region, largely came to Rome with its makers, Syrian and Judean craftsmen, many of who were slaves. Between the mid-first century B.C. and the early seventh century A.D., Roman glassmaking was influenced not only by the changing values and tastes of the Roman world, but also by historical events. Many new techniques of glassmaking were introduced along the way. Each glass vessel, in its shape and decoration, is therefore a record of the times in which it was made.
This large green glass stopper is an extremely interesting and seldom encountered object. Originally, this stopper would have fit securely into the spout of a larger vessel, likely made of a more durable material such as bronze or terracotta. As delicate as spring rain, this stopper radiates a timeless charm. A majority of the work is covered with a golden weathering film that has flaked off in spots to reveal the luminous violet iridescent patina beneath—a gift of the centuries—that lends the work the rare beauty of flowers. But while the loveliness of flowers fades, that of this stopper has only grown sweeter with age.