Glass snake-thread flask shaped like a mouse
- Late Imperial
- 3rd century A.D.
- Glass, blue; blown, tooled, and trailed
- Other: 2 1/2 x 2 x 5 3/4 in. (6.3 x 5.1 x 14.6 cm)
Diameter: 1 1/16 in. (2.7 cm)
- Credit Line:
- Gift of Renée E. and Robert A. Belfer, 2012
- Accession Number:
Translucent cobalt blue, with same color added head, ears, eyes, feet, and snake-thread decoration.
Rounded and thickened rim; funnel-shaped, elongated neck with tooling marks around base; misshapen piriform body, with separate large blob of glass (solid?) applied to rounded bottom of body.
The neck has been turned upwards to appear like the mouse’s tail; added to the body of the vessel to create the animal are four separate tooled trails for the feet and for the head a large blob that has been drawn out to make a pointed nose; ears and eyes have also been added to the head; the body is further decorated with snake-thread trails, all flattened and notched, in the form of two long-necked, thin-legged birds, one on the animal’s back, the other on his belly between his feet, interspersed with foliage comprising tendrils and ivy leaves; a plain spiral trail is wound twice around the lower part of the neck.
Broken and repaired, with small losses to body below head and part of spiral trail on neck is missing. Dulling and iridescent weathering.
Snake-thread is a term used by modern scholars to describe the distinctive type of trailed decoration that is found on this mouse-shaped flask. The trails have been applied in an irregular pattern and then tooled with hatching. Both the shape and the deep blue color of the flask are most unusual.