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Home > Auctions > 30th November 2021 > Roman Glass Balsamarium with Elaborate Handle

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LOT 0738

GBP (£) 450 - 650
EUR (€) 530 - 760
USD ($) 600 - 860

Sold for (Inc. bp): £559

Roman Glass Balsamarium with Elaborate Handle

3rd-5th century AD

A substantial dark green glass balsamarium with rolled rim and bulb foot, four applied triangular loops to the top, with three lateral tiered loops below each junction and a tall applied handle to the top; robustly made from a thick, rimmed tube folded over and heat joined, with the large looping tiers of the handles added. 87 grams, 23cm (9"). Fine condition, repaired.

From an important central London collection formed since the mid 1960s; thence by descent.

See a very similar specimen in Goldberg's Manuscript Sale of Sept. 20, 2003, lot 474; June 1986, Superior Galleries Sale of the assets of the International Diamond Corporation; fragments of such specimens in Compton, J., Price, J. and Worrell, 'The Roman Glass', in Atkinson M. and Preston S.J., Heybridge: A Late Iron Age and Roman Settlement, Excavations at Elms Farm 1993-5, Internet Archaeology 40.; another similar specimen can be seen in the Metropolitan Museum of New York, inventory n. X.21.177.

These examples of translucent blue green glass were characterised by elaborate trailed handles, making them more decorative than functional. In Heybridge, more than two hundred fragments of natural blue green glass in a wide variety of forms were found, the largest category comprising containers, namely jugs, flasks and bottles.