Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Glass gold-band mosaic alabastron (perfume bottle)

1st century B.C.
Greek, Eastern Mediterranean
Glass; cast, probably around a rod
H.: 8 3/8 in. (21.3 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 163
Translucent cobalt blue, colorless, translucent turquoise blue, translucent honey brown, opaque white, and gold leaf.
Plain vertical rim, ground flat on top edge; recessed band below to receive neck and rim attachment; biconical body, expanding downwards to midway point, then slanting in to pointed bottom.
Gold-band mosaic pattern formed from serpentine lengths of two different canes in combinations of blue and turquoise outlined in white, with one having a band in brown backed with white, the other having a band in colorless encasing shattered gold leaf. The gold-band canes are repeated twice over the body.
Broken and repaired, with areas on fill around upper half of body; slight dulling, pitting of surface bubbles, faint iridescent weathering on body, and thick creamy weathering on rim, recessed band, and interior.

This is an unusually large gold-band alabastron with a rare pointed shape. Attached to the top was a detachable neck piece or stopper that is now lost. The neck piece had a broad, flat rim and was usually made in a different monochrome glass. A complete example can be seen in the Hellenistic Treasury.
Froehner, Wilhelm. 1903. Collection Julien Gréau. Verrerie antique, émaillerie et poterie appartenant à M. John Pierpont Morgan no. 782, p. 111, pl. 111.1, Paris.

Eisen, Gustavus A. and Fahim Joseph Kouchakji. 1927. Glass: Its Origin, History, Chronology, Technic and Classification to the Sixteenth Century, Vol. 1. pl. 45, New York: W. E. Rudge.

Fremersdorf, Fritz. 1932. "Alexandrinisches Buntglas aus einer Grabummauerung in Köln." Germania, 16: p. 283, fig. 6, n. 1.

Oliver, Andrew Jr. 1967. "Late Hellenistic Glass in the Metropolitan Museum." Journal of Glass Studies, 9: pp. 26–27, fig. 20.

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. pp. 17–18, fig. 23, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Svyatoslav, Konkin V. 2012. "Artistic Features of Antiquity Glass : Aspects of Combining Glass and Gold." Ph.D. Diss. p. 68, fig. III.3.22. Moscow.

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