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Roman Glass Bowl w/ Spiralized Ribs

Roman, Imperial Period, ca. 3rd to 4th century CE. A stunning mold-blown glass bowl with a pale blue-green color and a near-transparent presentation. The base, slightly concave with a rough pontil scar, leads outwards to rounded walls, a rolled rim, and a shallow interior. Noteworthy to this vessel are the dozens of molded diagonal ribs which add a tornadic appearance and a pleasing texture to the smooth surfaces. Faint areas of silvery and rainbow-hued iridescence detail both interior and exterior surfaces, amplifying the delicate and beautiful nature of this vessel. Size: 6.875" W x 2.25" H (17.5 cm x 5.7 cm).

Glass blowing, invented in the Roman Middle East in the first century BCE, allowed the average Roman citizen access to glass goods that previously would have been rare and expensive. In fact, glass so totally replaced pottery as a homeware, and became so popular, that one historian estimates that the Roman glassmaking industry from the 1st to 7th centuries must have produced billions of individual items. Most Roman glass wound up broken up and sent to the Roman equivalent of the landfill; it was also common for peddlers to exchange other items for broken glass so it could be reblown or fixed. Almost all of the intact Roman glass that survives today was placed into tombs as grave goods and preserved there for future eyes to see. A bowl like this one would have been used in life in the household by an average Roman citizen, though its elegant spiralized presentation may have been specifically commissioned for a member of the wealthy elite.

Condition: Surface wear and light abrasions commensurate with age as expected, some light bubbling, slight dulling and weathering, and some roughness on rim and base, otherwise intact and choice. Nice earthen deposits as well as faint silvery and rainbow iridescence throughout.

Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection

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