Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Glass bowl with cut decoration

Late Imperial
4th century A.D.
Glass; blown, cut, and abraded
H. 1 7/8 in. (4.8 cm) diameter 3 9/16 in. (9 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Henry G. Marquand, 1881
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 169
Uneven, slightly inverted, ground rim; hemispherical body; slightly flattened but round bottom.
Wheel-cut decoration on exterior: immediately below rim band of three parallel horizontal lines, the central one being broader than the two flanking lines; on body, continuous frieze of four standing figures, alternating with vertical columns: each figure faces front with head turned in profile to left, wearing tunic with vertical stripes and holding long-stemmed plants in both hands outstretched to either side, and the columns are rendered with three vertical grooves, with capitals and bases represented by two horizontal grooves; on bottom, a rosette or star with eight radiating lines.
Intact; very few bubbles; dulling, iridescence, and patches of limy weathering.

A number of bowls with very similar cut decoration are known from the Rhineland. As exemplified here, some of these show figures engaged in a form of pagan procession or dance, but others have Christian associations. These four figures carry bunches of grapes and raised objects, possibly long tapers or castanets, and each is flanked by stylized columns.
Said to be from Moguntiacum (modern Mainz, Germany) (Froehner 1879, p. 97)

Before 1879, found in Moguntiacum (modern Mainz, Germany); by 1879 and until 1881, collection of Jules Charvet, Le Pecq, Île-de-France; 1881, purchased from J. Charvet by Henry G. Marquand; acquired in 1881, gift of Henry G. Marquand.
Froehner, Wilhelm. 1879. La verrerie antique: déscription de la Collection Charvet. pp. 94, 97, 139, Le Pecq: Jules Charvet.

Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1881. Twelfth Annual Report of the Trustees of the Association for eight months ending December 31, 1881. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Mowat, Robert. 1882. "Exemples de Gravure antique sur Verre." Revue Archéologique, 44: p. 289.

Kisa, Anton. 1908. Das Glas im Altertume, Vol. 2. p. 667, Leipzig: K. W. Hiersemann.

Caron, Beaudoin. 1997. "Roman Figure-Engraved Glass in The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Metropolitan Museum Journal, 32: no. 6, pp. 19, 28-30, figs. 28-33.

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