Glass 'Mercury' bottle
- Late Imperial
- 3rd century A.D.
- Glass; mold-blown
- H. 7 3/4 in. (19.7 cm.) width 1 11/16 in. (4.3 cm.)
- Credit Line:
- Gift of Henry G. Marquand, 1881
- Accession Number:
Colorless with pale yellow green tinge.
Broad rim, folded out, down, round and in, and flattened on top surface; thick-walled cylindrical neck, expanding downwards; pushed-in horizontal shoulder with raised rounded corners; square, thick-walled body, with flat sides; concave bottom.
In relief on bottom, standing peacock, facing right, with crest above head and tail feathers displayed behind in a stylized fashion with two circular rows of dots.
Intact; dulling, pitting, and brilliant iridescence covering almost all of surfaces.
Bottles of this type are often called Mercury flasks because the figure of Mercury, the Roman god of commerce and trade, appears in molded relief on the bottom of some examples. On the bottom of this bottle is a peacock with outstretched tail feathers. These sturdy and very portable containers are found mainly in Italy and the western provinces; they are virtually unknown from the eastern half of the Empire.