Translucent deep purple with opaque white overlay. Everted, rounded rim, with slightly downturned outer lip; shallow convex side; flat bottom with slightly upturned and rounded outer edge. On interior, two raised lines as molding around side, retaining in places traces of white overlay; on exterior, recessed horizontal lines below rim and at edge of side and bottom. Decoration carved in white overlay, comprising a crab, a squid, and two bivalve molluscs, with incised details, such as the naturalistic patterning of the shells and the tenticles of the squid. Rim fragment, broken into a dozen pieces and repaired; many pinprick bubbles; dulling, deep pitting, brilliant iridescence, and patches of brown enamel-like weathering
Over a background of deep purple (representing Homer's "wine-dark sea"), patches of opaque white glass have been added and then carved to represent various sea creatures. The fragment is said to have been found on the island of Capri (on the Bay of Naples, Italy), near the imperial villa where the Emperor Tiberius lived in seclusion between A.D. 27 and 37.
Said to have been found in 1888 on Capri, near the Palace of Tiberius, under the villa of Sig. Cerio.
1888, said to have been found on Capri, on the property of the Cerio family; 1892, purchased in Rome from Charles Caryl Coleman by Henry G. Marquand; acquired in 1892, gift of Henry G. Marquand.
Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1892. "Henry G. Marquand, A collection of Roman antiquities." Annual Report of the Trustees, 23: p. 552.
Smith, Ray Winfield. 1949. "The Significance of Roman Glass." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, 8(2): p. 59.
Dolez, Albane. 1988. Glass Animals: 3,500 Years of Artistry and Design. p. 22, New York: H. N. Abrams.
Painter, K. S. and Dr. David Whitehouse. 1990. "Recent Research on the Portland Vase: IV. Style, Date, and Place of Manufacture." Journal of Glass Studies, 32: no. 10, p. 124.
Whitehouse, David. 1991. "Cameo Glass." Roman Glass: Two Centuries of Art and Invention, Martine S. Newby and K. S. Painter, eds. pp. 28, 32, London: Society of Antiquaries of London.
von Saldern, Axel. 2004. Antikes Glas. p. 216, fig. 183, Munich: Beck.
Picón, Carlos A. 2007. Art of the Classical World in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Greece, Cyprus, Etruria, Rome no. 391, pp. 336, 483, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Picón, Carlos A. 2009. "Glass and Gold of the Hellenistic and Early Roman World." Philippe de Montebello and the Metropolitan Museum of Art: 1977-2008, James R. Houghton, ed. pp. 18-9, fig. 26, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.