Glass head flask, Glass, blue, Roman, probably Syrian

Glass head flask

Late Imperial
4th century A.D.
Roman, probably Syrian
Glass, blue; mold-blown
Height: 7 1/4 in. (18.4 cm)
Other (width of head): 3 1/16 in. (7.8 cm)
Diameter: 2 5/16 x 2 1/2 in. (5.9 x 6.3 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Renée E. and Robert A. Belfer, 2012
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 169
Translucent cobalt blue, with same color handle and base.
Everted rim with cracked off vertical lip; broad funnel-shaped neck, splaying slightly at base; narrow horizontal shoulder; body molded into the shape of a head in the round, with vertical mold marks down sides of head in hair behind ears; below head sides curve in to round bottom; thick trail wound round bottom 3½ times to form splayed base ring; wishbone handle applied to lower half of neck in a large pad, drawn out and up, then tooled into a pinched thumb-rest with acute angle below, and drawn vertically down to back of head and trailed off down to base with decoration of twenty horizontal ribs.
The head portrays a youth with long hair arranged in wavy locks at back, reaching to nape of the neck and behind the ears; fringe of straight locks on his forehead; the head has prominent ears, almond-shaped eyes with inset pupils, and a protruding, thick upper lip, pointed nose, and small chin.
Intact, except for a small chips at proper right side of head and in base ring; slight encrustation and faint dulling.

The head is that of a youth with the large almond-shaped eyes and neat, flowing locks that are typical of Late Roman portraiture.
With Toufik Arakji, Beirut and Hamburg; acquired by George Ortiz, Geneva; acquired from George Ortiz by exchange by Phoenix Ancient Art, New York, circa 1975; purchased by Renée E. and Robert A. Belfer from Phoenix Ancient Art on March 13, 1996; given by Renée E. and Robert A. Belfer to The Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2012. The work has been on loan to, and on display at, The Metropolitan Museum of Art since April 2007.
Picón, Carlos A., Joan R. Mertens, Christopher S. Lightfoot, Kyriaki Karoglou, and Seán Hemingway. 2014. "Recent Acquisitions: A Selection: 2012–2014." Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 72(2): p. 13.