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A Roman Green Glass Balsamarium c. 4th Century A.D.


Regular price £1,950.00
Regular price Sale price £1,950.00
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A small but perfectly formed Roman pale green glass ”balsamarium” or  “unguentarium” bottle from the 4th century A.D.

This elegant vessel or “cosmetic bottle” features a slender baluster body adorned with wrythen fluting—spiral ridges that enhance its visual appeal.

The unguentarium has an everted rim with a folded edge, both decorative and functional for reinforcing the lip. On either side of the vessel, delicate applied handles reflect the glassmaker's skill.

A pale green hue is achieved through the inclusion of iron oxide. The bottle has developed an iridescent patina over time.

Generally used to hold precious liquids like perfumes, oils, or medicines, this piece demonstrates the advanced glassmaking techniques of the Roman Empire and is a wonderful example of a luxury item from the period.

This is a typical late form of a balsamarium. Eastern Mediterranean in origin.



Christie’s - Antiquities Sale 14th April 2011 Lot 165

Private collection, France; acquired on the French art market, 1970s.

  • Width: 7 cm (2.76″)
  • Height: 14 cm (5.51″)
  • Depth: 4 cm (1.57″)