Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Glass bowl decorated with geometric patterns

Late Imperial
4th century A.D.
Glass; blown and cut
H. 1 13/16 in. (4.6 cm) diameter 4 7/16 in. (11.2 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 171
Colorless with a greenish tinge.
Vertical ground rim; hemispherical body; small, slightly pushed-in bottom.
Six registers of cut decoration on exterior, each within horizontal grooves: (1) below rim, fine herringbone pattern facing to left; (2) lattice pattern of 22 rectangles, flanked to either side by two vertical grooves, and within each, four smaller rectangles, each with a diagonal cross, forming a larger diamond in each larger rectangle; (3) a broad band covering much of side, with three main designs: a latticed lozenge, a rosette with eight petals within two overlapping squares forming an eight-pointed star, and a large rosette (one with 13 petals, the other with 16), each repeated twice, enclosed by two intersecting continuous garlands, and in spandrels above and below the garlands, smaller stars or rosettes; (4) a narrow band of vertical and diagonal lines, each in pairs of grooves; (5) another herringbone pattern facing to left; (6) on bottom, a 12-petaled rosette.
Broken and repaired with only one large crack and one hole with weathered edges in rim; a few bubbles; slight dulling, patches of encrustation and iridescent weathering.

The cut design is remarkably well executed and intricate. There a very few other examples with such a detailed abstract decorative pattern.
Richter, Gisela M. A. 1911. "The Room of Ancient Glass." Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 6(6) Supplement:

Richter, Gisela M. A. 1930[1911]. The Room of Ancient Glass, : pp. 22-3, fig. 29.

Caron, Beaudoin. 1997. "Roman Figure-Engraved Glass in The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Metropolitan Museum Journal, 32: no. 5, pp. 19, 27-28, figs. 21-26.

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