Multi-coloured glass flask (unguentarium)

1st half of the 1st century

National Museum of Slovenia

National Museum of Slovenia

Previously prepared multicoloured plates of glass were bent with the application of heat to form the desired shape. They were additionally worked with grinding. The rim is turned out, the neck short, the body biconical, the base slightly concave. The walls are accentuated by horizontal grooves.
As early as the Hellenistic workshops, vessels were manufactured from multicoloured glass bands, with additions of bands with gold leaf. The most popular forms were various balsamaria.
Roman period products have additional green bands in the multicoloured composition of these small bottles, which distinguishes them from the Hellenistic products. The forms are narrowly limited, including vessels with lid (pyxides), biconical, and globular miniature bottles. Biconical unguent bottles often have shallow groves on the exterior side along the edges, which emphasize the biconical shape. Finds of these products are concentrated in Italy and the western provinces. They were probably manufactured in one of the Italic workshops, and are dated to the first half of the 1st century.
The flask of multicoloured glass with bands of gold leaf from Hasberg is a rare and exceptional glass product. There are no analogies to material from other Slovenian sites, while they can be found elsewhere primarily in major collections, such as those at Corning or the British Museum. Given the unclear provenience of the vessel, it can be debated whether it represents an actual remnant of Roman material culture on Slovenian territory or instead a rare specimen from a private collection, purchased as an antiquity.

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  • Title: Multi-coloured glass flask (unguentarium)
  • Date: 1st half of the 1st century
  • Date Created: 1st half of the 1st century
  • Physical Dimensions: h. 12 cm
  • Provenance: Hasberg, Slovenia
  • Type: Vessel
  • Publisher: LAZAR, I. 2003, Rimsko steklo Slovenije = The Roman glass of Slovenia, Ljubljana: Založba ZRC, 44-45.
  • Rights: Narodni muzej Slovenije
  • Medium: Multi-coloured glass