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Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Glass mosaic jar

2nd–early 1st century B.C.
Greek, probably Eastern Mediterranean
Glass; cast
5 7/16 x 6 1/8 in. (13.8 x 15.6 cm)
Credit Line:
Edward C. Moore Collection, Bequest of Edward C. Moore, 1891
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 163
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.
Oliver, Andrew Jr. 1967. "Late Hellenistic Glass in the Metropolitan Museum." Journal of Glass Studies, 9: p. 15, fig. 3.

Grose, David F. 1989. Early Ancient Glass: Core-Formed, Rod-Formed, and Cast Vessels and Objects from the Late Bronze Age to the Early Roman Empire, 1600 B.C. to A.D. 50. p. 193, fig. 107, New York: Hudson Hills Press.

Lightfoot, Christopher S. and Elisabetta Valtz Fino. 2001. "In "Ars Vitraria: Glass in the Metropolitan Museum of Art": Greek and Roman Art." Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 59(1): p. 21.

Picón, Carlos A. 2007. Art of the Classical World in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Greece, Cyprus, Etruria, Rome no. 394, pp. 338, 483, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Picón, Carlos A. 2009. "Glass and Gold of the Hellenistic and Early Roman World." Philippe de Montebello and the Metropolitan Museum of Art: 1977-2008, James R. Houghton, ed. p. 17, fig. 22, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Picón, Carlos A. and Seán Hemingway. 2016. Pergamon and the Hellenistic Kingdoms of the Ancient World no. 202, p. 260, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Lightfoot, Christopher S. 2016. "Fragments of Time: Ancient Glass in the Department of Greek and Roman Art." Metropolitan Museum Journal, 51: p. 32, n. 3[p. 40].

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