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Mosaic Glass Bowl

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: Roman
: 1st century B.C. - 1st century A.D.
: Glass
: D: 9 cm (3.5 in)

Acquired on the London art market in 1999.


Complete and in good condition but glued over small gaps (interior). Slightly worn surface.


This low bowl, smaller than the average, has a rounded and regular profile, ending with an edge. It is made of mosaic glass; polychrome and rich, with blue, purple, white elements and transparent glass. The bottom is rounded, without indication from the base. The cup was made using a technique that requires a great skill from the glassmaker and the respect of several precise stages in its realization. The first step consists of making several canes (or rods) of polychrome glass, which are then cut into small discs: their chromatic composition will determine the arrangement of the colors of the container. The cut glass discs are then placed side by side and reheated until fused; the still hot colored mass is placed on a mold stone (or ceramic) in order to give it the definitive form of a bowl. Glass mosaic containers have remained in fashion for a relatively short period of history (from the 1st century BC. in the middle of the 1st century AD). They were part coveted but very expensive and therefore intended for the more affluent classes of society. With the spread of blown glass technology, products more affordable appeared and replaced the containers in glass mosaic; however, the technique itself has never has been forgotten and has continued to this day in the production, for example, of glass mosaic beads.


verres antiques I : Contenants à parfum en verre moulé sur noyau
et vaisselle moulée, VIIe siècle avant J.-C. – Ier siècle après J.-C.,
Paris, 2000, pp. 198-199.
GOLDSTEIN S., Pre-Roman and early roman Glass, in The
Corning Museum of Glass, New York, 1979, pp. 179-181, nos.
MATHESON S.B., Ancient Glass in the Yale University Art Gallery,
Yale, 1980, pp. 19-20, no. 53.

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