Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Gold glass base of a beaker

Late Imperial
3rd century A.D.
Glass, gold; blown with applied gold foil
Overall: 3 7/16 x 3 1/4 x 3/16 in. (8.8 x 8.2 x 0.5 cm)
Credit Line:
Fletcher Fund, 1928
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 168
Colorless; gold foil; blue and black pigment.
Fragment from bottom of vessel, comprising two layers: the lower base disk is thinner and folded down at edge to form a foot ring; the gold foil was applied to the upper surface with details added in colored paint or enamel; the upper paraison is thicker and slightly concave, fused onto the base disk, sealing in the decoration.
The decoration is viewed from inside the vessel; roundel framed by a thick gold band, a charioteer stands in his quadriga, holding a victory wreath in his outstretched right hand; behind him is his blue-colored headdress; the horses wear plumes, partially in blue, black harnesses with ornaments in blue across their chests, and blue leg wraps; above to either side of charioteer in gold letters are the words DEMET - ER NICA; below the ground line a section of the disk is filled with gold foil, part of which has been removed to leave the word TRASINICVS in reserve.
Broken with weathered edges on all sides, and some chipping and cracking on base disk; few bubbles; dulling, faint iridescent weathering, and discoloration of decoration between the layers of glass.

This gold glass fragment depicts a victorious driver in his quadriga (four-horse chariot). Above is the inscription "Demeter nica" (Demeter win!), and below is the charioteer’s name, Trasinicus.
Inscription: Inscribed above, "Demeter nica," "Demeter win!" Inscribed below, the charioteer's name, Trasinicus.
Said to be from the catacombs of the Via Passiello in Rome

Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1936[1934]. A Guide to the Collections, Part 1: Ancient and Oriental Art, 2nd edn. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Weitzmann, Kurt. 1979. Age of Spirituality: Late Antique and Early Christian Art, Third to Seventh Century no. 96, pp. 104-5, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1980. The Horses of San Marco: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, February 1-June 1, 1980, New York. no. 37, p. 6, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Bodel, John P. and Stephen Tracy. 1997. Greek and Latin Inscriptions in the USA: A Checklist. p. 200, Rome: The American Academy in Rome.

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