“Sidonian” bottle in the shape of a head - ROM2010_11496_50


“Sidonian” bottle in the shape of a head

Medium:Mould-blown glass
Geography: Syro-Palestine
Date: about 200-300 AD
Period: Roman Imperial period
13.9 x 6.5 x 4.1 cm
Object number: 950.157.83
Credit Line: Gift of Miss Helen Norton
On view
Gallery Location:Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Gallery of Rome and the Near East

Glassware was one of the primary industries in the Near East from about 200 BC onward. Thousands of specimens of Syro-Palestinian glass survive: it was a common grave-offering in the rock-cut tombs of the region - until the 5th century AD, when the advent of Christianity changed the local burial practices. Most Roman glass-making techniques likely originated in Syria or Palestine, being transmitted elsewhere by artisans from this region.

The rounded body of this small bottle was made in a mould in the form of two human heads set back to back, often referred to as a janiform, or bi-frontal, head flask. The heads have been described as having mature features, and are separated on each side by an upright leaf-motif.

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