PA-3019: Ancient Roman Cosmetic Jar with Ribbed Body circa 4th Century AD. (93 x 70 mm – 3 11/16 x 2 5/8 inches). A very scarce example of ancient Roman blown glass with ribbed decoration. This free-blown container is crafted of nearly colorless glass. The shape is quite sophisticated and technically difficult, with a funnel mouth with narrow projecting roll and an ovoid body embellished with twelve tooled ribs that were achieved while the glass was still in a semi-molten state. The kicked-up base shows a pontil mark. The surface patina exhibits burial incrustation and patches of vivid bluish iridescence. Excellent condition.
Ref: see Roman Byzantine and Early Medieval Glass, Ernesto Wolf Collection, 2001, catalog # 116 for an eastern Mediterranean jar of nearly identical shape and decoration – attributed to Roman Syria.
The survival of this fragile glass seems nearly miraculous. The iridescence is due to the glass reacting to the soil- producing incredible shimmering iridescence that has long captivated the imagination of the most ardent collectors and artists.