Glass gold-band mosaic scyphus (drinking cup)

Period: Early Imperial

Date: late 1st century B.C.–early 1st century A.D.

Culture: Roman

Medium: Glass; cast and cut

Dimensions: H.: 4 1/2 in. (11.5 cm), W: 9 13/16 (25 cm), Diam.: 7 1/16 in. (18 cm)

Classification: Glass

Credit Line: Edward C. Moore Collection, Bequest of Edward C. Moore, 1891

Accession Number: 91.1.2053


In the Hellenistic period (3rd–1st century B.C.), large cast glass drinking cups with a distinctive deep shape and projecting handles became popular. They are, however, made of colorless or monochrome translucent glass. This example is highly unusual in that it is made from fused canes of polychrome mosaic glass, which include bands of gold leaf between two layers of colorless glass. The cup, despite its fragmentary condition, is the largest surviving example of an ancient vessel made using gold-band glass. It may have been made for the luxury market in Rome.