Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Glass amphoriskos (flask)

Early Imperial
1st half of 1st century A.D.
Glass; blown in a two-part mold
H.: 3 7/16 in. (8.7 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 171
Translucent yellow green, with pale blue green handle.
Uneven, thick, oval rim, folded out, over and in, then flattened into side of flaring mouth; concave neck expanding into shoulder; ovoid body; circular base with flat bottom; rod handle applied to underside of rim and drawn downwards. One continuous mold seam around body and across bottom, extending right up to rim and forming thick ridges to sides of neck and a faint raised line across bottom.
Shaped like a miniature storage jar encased in a wicker basket with a thick edge to its mouth around shoulder and decorated around the middle of body with a wreath of paired laurel leaves and berries: on one side leaves running from left to right, on the other from right to left.
Intact, but missing all of one and most of the other handle; some large and pinprick bubbles; slight pitting, weathering, and iridescence on exterior, patches of encrustation, weathering, and brilliant iridescence on interior.

Most of one handle and all of the other are missing, but it is clear from the remaining traces and from more complete examples that the handles were applied to the rim and then trailed down to the shoulder. The molded pattern on the body imitates basket or wickerwork with a central wreath of laurel leaves and berries. Wickerwork was often used as a protective skin around glass or terracotta vessels during transport.
Said to be from Syria

1903. Collection Julien Gréau. Verrerie antique, émaillerie et poterie appartenant à M. John Pierpont Morgan. no. 1135, p. 157, pl. 206.2.

Stern, E. Marianne. 1995. Roman Mold-Blown Glass: The First through Sixth Centuries. p. 154 n. 1k, Rome: L'Erma di Bretschneider.

Lightfoot, Christopher S. 2005. "Anomalies amongst Early Roman Mould-Blown Glass Vessels." Annales du 16e Congrès de l'Association Internationale pour l'Histoire du Verre, Jennifer Price, ed. p. 86, fig. 3, Nottingham: Association internationale pour l'histoire du verre.

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