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HOME : Classical Antiquities : Sand Core Glass : Sand-Core Formed Glass Amphoriskos
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Sand-Core Formed Glass Amphoriskos - SK.038
Origin: Eastern Mediterranean
Circa: 600 BC to 300 BC
Dimensions: 3.5" (8.9cm) high
Collection: Classical
Style: Core-Formed
Medium: Glass

Location: UAE
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This elegant glass vessel would have been used to store cosmetics or perfumed oils. The shape, which is Greek in form, is very distinctive and similar examples have been found across the Mediterranean world from Spain in the west, to Syria and Jordan in the east. The main centre of production is still disputed, but the principle contender is the island of Rhodes. One of the most important commercial centres in the Eastern Mediterranean, it had a lively trade in cosmetics and it is possible that the glass- making industry developed in response to this.

At the time of this vessel’s production, the technique of glass-blowing had not yet been discovered. Instead the hollow was formed by covering a clay core with molten glass. The core was formed around a metal rod that was held during the vessel’s preparation. After the glass had cooled the core was scraped out. The decoration was added by winding thin trails of various colours around the vessel and working them with a comb. Finally the vessel was rolled on the surface of a smooth stone tablet and the trails were marvered into the walls. This was a highly skilled and time-consuming process that resulted in works of great beauty.

This amphoriskos is of dark blue glass. This colour was valued by the ancients partly because of its similarity to the precious stone lapis lazuli. The body is piriform in shape with vertical ribs on the upper section. Opaque white feather trailing has been combed into festoons and spirals around the base and neck. The rim is edged with an opaque white trail. The handles and pad base were applied after the main body of the vessel had been created. There is some slight restoration but otherwise the condition is excellent.

Ref: D. F. Grose, The Toledo Museum of Art. Early Ancient Glass, (Toledo, 1989), pp. 125 & 143, no. 96. (AM) - (SK.038)


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