Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Glass bowl in the form of a shell

Late Imperial
1st half of 4th century A.D.
Glass; blown in an open one-part mold
Diam.: 5 in. (12.7 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Patricia and Marietta Fried Gift, 2007
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 169
Colorless with pale green tinge.
Flaring, knocked-off rim with shallow S-shaped collar below; body with circular circumference and rounded bottom.
Body formed into the shape of a marine bivalve mollusc (scallop) in relief with eleven ribs radiating from a deep ocellus or umbone in a fan pattern ; ribs become broader and have rounded ends below collar around rim; the ocellus is flanked to either side by a hemispherical bulge. Below the rim is a faint wheel-abraded line.
Broken and repaired, with some internal cracks; pinprick and larger bubbles; faint weathering and iridescence.

Bowls made in in silver, bronze, and semiprecious stone and shaped to resemble a large seashell became popular in the Hellenistic period. Glass examples were also produced in early Roman imperial times, some cast and others mold-blown. This bowl however appears to be a later example of the blown variety; others, found mainly on the Rhine or Danube frontier, are dated to the fourth century A.D.
Gorny & Mosch. 2006. Auktion 150, 11 July 2006. lot 69, p. 52.

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