Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Glass oinochoe (jug)

Early Imperial, Augustan or Julio-Claudian
late 1st century B.C.–early 1st century A.D.
Glass; cast and blown, and cut
H. 7 1/8 in. (18.1 cm); diameter 3 3/8 in. (8.6 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 166
Opaque pale blue.
Trefoil rim with beveled outer lip; concave, slightly oval neck, joining imperceptibly with ovoid body; integral splayed base ring on low concave pedestal, with broad flat edge around concave bottom; integral handle rising from body to edge of back of rim, with angular outer profile and central vertical rib, loop rising above rim with upward projecting thumb-rest.
On base ring, raised horizontal molding around base of body, a pronounced angular raised molding at top of base ring, and a band of three rounded raised horizontal lines forming molding at outer edge of base ring; on the carved handle: a raised diamond-shaped area at base of handle imitating an attachment plate; a flat diamond shape incised with two cross lines as base finial to handle; a recessed area at top of handle where it curves in towards rim; a thumb-rest in relief with central rib and tapering towards back of handle; at either side of handle on rim splayed wings with curving finials.
Intact, except for front of thumb-rest, which is chipped; dulling, some pitting of surface bubbles, and faint iridescence, with a patch of limy enrustation on underside of base ring.

This elegant jug, whose shape imitates that of a metal vessel, shows how quickly the newly founded Roman glass industry mastered its medium. It represents a transitional phase in glassmaking, when casting and cutting, and blowing techniques were used. The jug's handle was cold-carved and the base was cut on a lathe, but the body seems to have been blown. A similar combination of techniques is found on some examples of early Roman cameo glass, notably the British Museum’s Portland Vase.
1903. Collection Julien Gréau. Verrerie antique, émaillerie et poterie appartenant à M. John Pierpont Morgan. no. 273, p. 47, pl. 33.1.

Smith, Ray Winfield. 1949. "The Significance of Roman Glass." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, 8(2): p. 56.

Milleker, Elizabeth J. 2000. The Year One: Art of the Ancient World East and West, Elizabeth J. Milleker, ed. no. 49, pp. 62-63, 206, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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.

Picón, Carlos A. 2007. Art of the Classical World in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Greece, Cyprus, Etruria, Rome no. 392, pp. 337, 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. 18-19, fig. 25, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Lightfoot, Christopher S. 2016. "Fragments of Time: Ancient Glass in the Department of Greek and Roman Art." Metropolitan Museum Journal, 51: p. 34.

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