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Roman Sidonian Glass Date Vessel w/ Iridescence

Roman Empire, Lebanon, Sidonian, ca. mid 1st to early 2nd century CE. A fine mold blown flask resembling a date fruit in gorgeous golden amber glass with amazing iridescence - its generally oblong form with a short neck and a flaring rim. Note how the mold was carefully crafted to create the impression of a date's wrinkled skin. A stupendous example, despite some loss to the rim, sparkling with not only rainbow iridescence but also golden and silvery iridescence that cast a flattering glow upon the surface! Size: 3.125" H (7.9 cm); 3.5" H (8.9 cm) on included custom stand.

Here are Pliny's words as he describes his voyage to Sidon, "From this point on we must go back to the coast and to Phoenicia. There was formerly a town called Crocodilian, and there still is a river of that name … Then comes Cape Carmel … Next are Getta, Geba, and the river Pacida or Belus … Close to this river is Ptolemais … Next Tyre, once an island separated from the mainland by a very deep sea-channel 700 yards wide, but now joined to it by the works constructed by Alexander when besieging the place … but the entire renown of Tyre now consists in a shell-fish and a purple dye! … Next are Zarephath and the city of birds (Ornithon oppidum), and Sidon, the mother-city of Thebes in Boeotia where glass is made." (Pliny, Natural History V.75-76, 77-79 CE).

For an almost identical example, see lot 185, Sotheby's New York Antiquities Auction, 14 June 2000, see also for another similar example, lot # 74, the Constable Maxwell collection of ancient glass, Sotheby Parke Bernet auction, 4/5 June, 1979. Also, see no. V-57, Reflection on Ancient Glass from the Borowski Collection. Also see, Toledo, Roman Mold Blown Glass, nos. 84 - 107. The author notes that Phoenicia during the 1st century CE "was famous not only for mold blown glass but for its date palms," and this may have "inspired glass workers in Phoenicia to blow vessels shaped like dates."

Condition: Losses to the rim as shown. Expected areas of weathering film with REMARKABLE iridescence boasting nearly every color of the rainbow as well as shimmering golden and silvery iridescence!

Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection

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