Glass cameo cup fragment with incuse decoration

Early Imperial
end of 1st century B.C–beginning of 1st century A.D.
Glass; cast and cut
Overall: 2 1/8 x 1 11/16 x 5/16 in. (5.4 x 4.3 x 0.8 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 171
Translucent deep cobalt blue with overlays in opaque white, opaque blue green, and translucent cobalt blue.

Vertical, tapering rim with everted horizontal projection, probably part of a handle attachment; thick-walled convex curving side.

On interior, horizontal groove below rim; on exterior, incuse decoration depicting a male standing figure at left, facing right with his proper left arm bent up across his chest; he wears an Egyptian-style kilt (shendyt) and possibly a cap; to right, a indeterminate object, perhaps a decorated shield, is shown at an oblique angle.

Rim fragment with worn and weathered edges, broken at sides and bottom; dulling, pitting, and faint iridescence.

This small fragment with indistinct figural design is of considerable interest and importance because it belongs to a very small group of ancient cameo glass objects that were made with multiple layers of different colored glass. In this case, on the dark blue body of the cup are layers in white, green, white, and lighter blue. In addition, the decoration, instead of being in relief, has been formed by cutting away the different layers like an intaglio.
Froehner, Wilhelm. 1903. Collection Julien Gréau. Verrerie antique, émaillerie et poterie appartenant à M. John Pierpont Morgan no. 557, p. 80, pl. 58.1, Paris.