Hellenistic Greek Cast Glass Pomegranate Vase

Greek · Hellenistic, 2nd century B.C. - 1st century A.D.

Material

Glass

Dimensions

H: 6.9 cm (2.7 in)

Dia: 6.6 cm (2.5 in)

Reference

11933

Price

POR

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Overview

Glass vessels shaped as fruit (grapes, dates, almonds, strawberries, lemons, acorns, and pinecones) are not infrequent. They create a group of various naturalistic representations; however, this vase in the form of a pomegranate is certainly unique. There is no other piece comparable in such perfect preservation and beautiful glass color. The purple color is attractive by itself, as well as it faithfully follows the color of the ripe fruit, whose rounded shape with plain facets and the corolla at the top are realistically rendered. Vessels in the form of fruits were used in everyday life and served as containers for perfume oils.

Objects imitating fruit were mostly votive offerings and mainly found in tombs. Pomegranates had different associations in Greek and Roman mythology. According to the myth, Persephone, daughter of Demeter, the goddess of fertility and vegetation, was abducted by Hades, god of the Underworld, who gave her some pomegranate seeds to eat. The pomegranate is now associated with Persephone, the queen of the Underworld, as a symbol of life in death. The multiplicity of the pomegranate seeds is an obvious symbol of fruitfulness and fertility; thus, it is no wonder to find the pomegranate as an attribute of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, or Hera, the marriage goddess.

Condition

Excellent condition; encrustations around the calyx; one of the calyx lobes are lost.

Provenance

Art market, prior to 2000;

European private collection, acquired on the German art market, 2000.

Published

Phoenix Ancient Art 2020 /39, no. 11