Glass multiple cosmetic flask (kohl tube)

Roman, Syrian

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 171

Translucent yellow green; handles and trails in translucent deep turquoise blue.
Outsplayed rim folded over and in; body comprising four compartments made by pinching tubular paraison vertically to form diaphragms; irregular flattened bottom, slightly concave, with central circular pontil mark; ornate handle comprising a thick rod, applied to top of neck at junction of two compartments and drawn up to form an arched basket handle; two other rods applied above junction of compartments, drawn up vertically with flattened loops above, tooled in horizontally, and attached to top of basket handle, thus forming a cross-shaped design; another thick rod applied to top of flattened loops, with pinched horizontal projections, and drawn up to form a second arched basket handle above.
On handle, on top a circular solid knob, flanked by two small trails applied to upper basket handle and drawn up with pinched fold at mid-point, and trailed off on sides of knob; similar trails, applied in pairs, decorate the junctions between the ends of the upper basket handle and the two vertical rod handles below, and to the lower basket handle to either side of the join of the horizontal arms of the vertical rod handles; on body, each compartment is decorated with a long, notched trail, drawn upwards, then tooled into two vertical loops, with tooled horizontal projections, and ending on edge of rim.
Complete, but broken and repaired, with breaks in upper part of handle and around top of body; many pinprick bubbles; pitting, dulling, and patches of thick iridescent weathering.

The body is formed into four separate tubes and is elaborately decorated with trails and an ornate handle. Kohl tubes were designed to hold eye makeup, so the multiple tubes may have been intended for four different colors.

Glass multiple cosmetic flask (kohl tube), Glass, Roman, Syrian

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