Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History



  • Storage jar, 2nd–3rd century a.d.
    Roman
    Mold–blown glass; 6 1/2 x 3 1/4 x 2 1/16 in. (16.5 x 8.3 x 5.2 cm)
    Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917 (17.194.219)

    This storage jar is a good example of the sort of utilitarian vessels that were mass-produced using the mold-blowing process. The mold for this particular object was comprised of a plain, rectangular mold for the sides and a separate base mold decorated with a diamond motif. Bottles such as this typically have base stamps that consist of geometric patterns, concentric circles, or inscriptions. These base stamps could have identified the workshop, mold carver, or even the intended contents of the vessel.

    The Romans are known to have utilized standard sets of weights and measures, and there are extant examples of labels that advertised the capacity of terracotta amphorae used for wine, oil, and other liquids. One can therefore assume that a similar system for standard capacity or volume might have applied to glass containers. The regular shape and size of these storage jars also allowed them to be securely packed in crates—an important factor when shipping them over great distances. All told, the mold-blowing process lent itself more readily than free-blowing ever could to a regulated and streamlined system of container production and distribution.

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  • Storage jar, 2nd–3rd century A.D.
    Roman
    Mold-blown glass; 6 1/2 x 3 1/4 x 2 1/16 in. (16.5 x 8.3 x 5.2 cm)
    Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917 (17.194.219)

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