Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Glass beaker with cut decoration

Late Imperial
4th–early 5th century A.D.
Glass; blown and cut
H. 5 7/8 in. (14.9 cm) diameter 2 3/4 in. (7.0 cm)
Credit Line:
Smith Fund, 1913
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 169
Translucent pale blue.
Vertical rim, cracked-off and ground flat, with bulge below; conical body with side tapering gently downwards; solid projecting knob on bottom.
Wheel-abraded decoration comprising at top two broad horizontal bands of lines, enclosing Greek letters with a diagonal band of short lines marking the beginning and/or end of the inscription; at center, a broad frieze containing two bunches of stylized grapes suspended from a T bar and flanked by wavy ribbons, alternating around side with two eight-armed stars; below, two bands of two horizontal lines flanking a band of short diagonal lines.
Intact; a few bubbles; faint iridescent weathering, with slight soil encrustation at bottom of interior.

The Greek inscription PIE ZHCHC (Drink [so that] you may live [well]) is an exhortation commonly found on both pottery and glass vessels. It probably echoes the kind of toast that would have been given at a drinking or dinner party. This beaker was likely made and decorated at a workshop in Syria, demonstrating that glassmakers (vitrarii) worked closely with glass cutters (diatretarii) in the production of glass tableware.
Inscription: Inscribed in Greek: "drink [so that] you may live [well]"
Said to be from near Epiphania (modern Hama, Syria)

Richter, Gisela M. A. 1914. "Department of Classical Art Accessions of 1913: Jewelry and Glass." Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 9 (12): p. 259.

Eisen, Gustavus A. and Fahim Joseph Kouchakji. 1927. Glass: Its Origin, History, Chronology, Technic and Classification to the Sixteenth Century, Vol. 2. pl. 101, New York: W. E. Rudge.

Harden, Donald Benjamin. 1959. "Highdown Hill Glass Goblet with Greek Inscriptions." Sussex Archaeological Collections, 9: p. 14, pl. VI B.

Weinberg, Gladys Davidson. 1963. "A Parallel to the Highdown Hill Glass." Journal of Glass Studies, 5: p. 27, fig/ 7.

Casson, Lionel. 1977. "The Thracians." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, 35(1): no. 11, pp. 19, 42-44, figs. 59-62.

Matheson, Susan B. 1980. Ancient glass in the Yale University Art Gallery. no. 292, p. 112, New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery.

Caron, Beaudoin. 1997. "Roman Figure-Engraved Glass in The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Metropolitan Museum Journal, 32: no. 11, pp. 19, 42-4, figs. 59-62.

Lightfoot, Christopher S. and Elisabetta Valtz Fino. 2001. "In "Ars Vitraria: Glass in the Metropolitan Museum of Art": Greek and Roman Art." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, 59(1): p. 23.

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