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HOME : Classical Antiquities : Classical Masterpieces : Sand-Core Formed Glass Amphoriskos
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Sand-Core Formed Glass Amphoriskos - LO.934
Origin: Eastern Mediterranean
Circa: 400 BC to 300 BC
Dimensions: 5.25" (13.3cm) high
Collection: Classical
Style: Sand Core Glass
Medium: Glass

Location: UAE
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The impressive bottle, with flaring rim, cylindrical neck, elongated piriform body and added knob base. Two handles of the same blue translucent glass between the shoulder and the top of the neck. White trail wound spirally around the rim and neck. On the shoulder the white trail combed into a feather pattern terminating again in close-set horizontal revolutions on the bottom.

This small amphora represents one of the most common typologies of core-formed vessel during the Hellenistic period. Amphoriskoi and alabastra, globular flasks and juglets were mostly produced from white or blue glass and served as containers for cosmetics and perfumes. Their distribution attests to the trade routes followed by Greek and Phoenician merchants, through Rhodes, the Greek Islands and the Etruscan cities in Italy. The amphoriskos was core-formed, a technique first explored in Mesopotamia in the 15th century BC, developed in Egypt during the 18th dynasty and later revived along the Mediterranean coast during the second half of the 1st millennium BC. Vessels such as this were characterized by the fact that the insides of the vessels' necks were modeled around the metal rod that held the core -not around the core itself, which shaped the hollow of the body. This technique represented a departure from the manufacturing tradition of the 2nd millennium BC and from methods practised in Elam and was consistently employed during the late 1st millennium BC especially in the eastern Mediterranean regions.

While the production possibly started in Rhodes during the 6th century BC, amphoriskoi such as this one were produced during the late 1st millennium BC in new workshops in Cyprus and along the Phoenician coast. Vessels similar to the one here illustrated have been found in archaeological excavations in Samothrace and on the Syro-Palestinian coast, and thought to have been produced in Cyprus. The archaeological evidence further suggest that these small containers were highly treasured and often kept as heirloom for a long period of time, as they have been often found in later tombs dated to the first centuries AD.

For comparable examples see: M. Stern and B. Schlick-Nolte, Early Glass of the Ancient World, 1994: no. 58-61, p. 234-243; and Y. Israel, Ancient Glass in the Israel Museum, Jerusalem 2003: pp.51-64. - (LO.934)


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