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Gorgeous Greek Core-Formed Glass Alabastron

$3,495.00
Ancient Greece, ca. 2nd to 1st century BCE. A striking core-formed glass alabastron, so named because many vessels that assumed this form were made of alabaster. The vessel presents a sophisticated piriform body with a tubular neck, and a splayed rim. It is comprised of teal blue glass with white trailing that was combed into a feathered or herringbone pattern throughout. The glass comprising the rim and base is pleasingly translucent. A breathtaking work of glass art to be treasured for its impeccable form, beautiful hues, and sophisticated technique. Size: 4.375" H (11.1 cm)

According to the Corning Museum of Glass, core forming is "the technique of forming a vessel by winding or gathering molten glass around a core supported by a rod. After forming, the object is removed from the rod and annealed. After annealing, the core is removed by scraping." (https://www.cmog.org/glass-dictionary/core-forming). This process of glass making was begun in the late 16th century BCE by glassmakers of Mesopotamia, and then adopted by Egyptian glassmakers in the 15th century BCE. The technique almost came to an end in the so-called Dark Ages of Mediterranean civilization (1200 to 900 BCE); however, by the 9th century BCE a new generation of glassmakers took up the technique once again, and between the 6th and 4th century BCE core-forming spread throughout the Mediterranean.

The alabastron is a long-bodied vessel with a rounded bottom, a tapered or cylindrical neck, and a flared, flattened mouth. According to the Beazley Archive of the University of Oxford, the alabastron shape's history extends back to Corinth, but was only preserved in Athenian pottery examples back to the mid-sixth century BCE. Alabastra were created in many materials, including alabaster, and the Greek term for this stone - alabastron (most likely of Egyptian origin) - was the source of inspiration for the name of this shaped vessel. Many examples were finished with a white ground, as if to imitate this stone. We know from vase painting imagery of women using alabastra following a bath, that these vessels most likely held perfumed oils.

Condition: One piece reattached to rim. Normal surface wear with slight pitting commensurate with age. Otherwise excellent.

Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection

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