Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Glass modiolus (one-handled drinking cup)

Early Imperial, Julio-Claudian or Flavian
1st century A.D.
Glass; blown and decorated with marvered blobs
H.: 4 13/16 in. (12.2 cm)
Credit Line:
H.O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H.O. Havemeyer, 1929
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 168
Translucent cobalt blue; handle in same color; blobs in opaque white and yellow; trail in opaque white.
Rim outsplayed with rounded lip; broad sloping collar below, then curving in to cylindrical body, tapering downwards with slightly convex side; hollow folded foot ring at junction of side and bottom; bottom convex around edge but concave at center; two-ribbed strap handle, applied in an arched pad to upper body, drawn up and round in a loop, and pressed onto undercurve of collar.
Trail wound around top of rim; surface covered with round and elongated blobs.
Broken and repaired around rim and upper body, with patches of restoration and one remaining chip in rim; severe pitting, dulling, iridescence, and creamy weathering especially on white blobs and trail.

Vessels of this shape are known in silver and pottery as well as glass. The shape resembles that of a measuring cup, from which the name modiolus derives. But the rich ornamentation found on many of these cups—as here the polychrome blobbed decoration—indicates that they were used as luxury tableware.

Gift of Henry G. Marquand, 1881 (81.10.93)
Said to be from near Nazareth, Israel

Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1930. The H. O. Havemeyer Collection: A Catalogue of the Temporary Exhibition, March 10-November 2. no. 1952, p. 112, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Frelinghuysen, Alice Cooney, Gary Tinterow, Susan Alyson Stein, Gretchen Wold, and Julia Meech. 1993. Splendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection pp. 104, 116, pl. 104, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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