Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Glass beaker with snake-thread decoration

Late Imperial
3rd century A.D.
Roman, Rhineland
Glass; blown and trailed
H. 15.7 cm Diameter of rim: 8.3 cm Diameter of base: 6.2 cm Diameter of body: 7.6 cm
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 171
Colorless with green tinge; trails in same color.
Outsplayed, uneven, knocked-off rim; vertical side to body, then tapering to form hollow stem; low foot, with rounded, tubular edge, made by folding; pushed-in bottom with domed kick at center and pontil mark.
On body, side divided into four vertical panels, each containing a snake-thread trail (three of nine loops, one of eight) with a trailing-off tail below, all tooled flat with cross-hatch pattern; between panels, a slender vertical trail applied to lower body, drawn up, tooled to form horizontal ribs, then folded down over ribs as a plain trail.
Intact; some pinprick bubbles; dulling, creamy weathering, and iridescence on exterior, soil encrustation and thicker black and brown weathering on interior.

After the beaker had been blown, decoration in the form of snakes was added with molten threads of glass. Many beakers of this type have been found in northern France.
Said to be from Mailly-le-Camp, Aube, France

Ricci, Seymour de. 1911. Catalogue of a collection of Gallo-Roman antiquities belonging to J. Pierpont Morgan. no. 362, pl. 27, Paris: privately printed.

Toussaint, Maurice. 1954. Répertoire archéologique du département de l'Aube, période gallo-romine et époque franque. p. 130, Paris.

Brown, Katharine R., Dafydd Kidd, and Charles T. Little. 2000[Metropolitan Museum of Art and Yale University Press]. From Attila to Charlemagne: Arts of the Early Medieval Period in the Metropolitan Museum of Art p. 280, New York and New Haven: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Cabart, Hubert. 2008. "Une Production Originale du Nord de la France au IVe Siècle: Les Verres à décor de Serpents." Journal of Glass Studies, 50: no. 13, pp. 41, 43, figs. 6, 7, n. 61.

Neumayer, Heino. 2016. "Die gallo-römischen Funde aus Frankreich im Department of Medieval Art des Metropolitan Museum of Art." Acta Praehistorica et Archaeologica, 48: p. 106, fig. 20.

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