Glass mosaic jar

Greek, probably Eastern Mediterranean

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 199

Translucent deep honey brown, opaque white, and colorless.

Flaring rim with rounded edge; concave neck; convex curving side, tapering downward; shallow convex bottom within applied outsplayed base ring with rounded edge.

Mosaic pattern, imitating banded agate, formed from fifteen large rectangular or polygonal sections of a cane in a brown ground with multiple concentric rings in white and a central colorless eye, arranged vertically from rim to lower body, and two other large sections, placed side by side across bottom, of a cane in brown ground with meandering zigzags in white. On interior, broad horizontal groove on inside of lip below rim; on exterior, band of two parallel horizontal grooves on shoulder and two concentric circles on bottom.

Broken and repaired, with some minor chips and cracks; some dulling, pitting, and iridescent weathering, but also areas of high polish.

Rotary grinding marks on interior and exterior.

Although fragments of mosaic glass are quite numerous and widespread, relatively few intact vessels are known. This jar is one of the star pieces to have survived and is a tour-de-force of the Hellenistic glassworker's skill. Made in imitation of vessels carved in semiprecious stone, such as onyx and banded agate, it gives an idea of the opulent tastes of the age.

Glass mosaic jar, Glass, Greek, probably Eastern Mediterranean

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