Glassmaking | The Donor

Glass vases

Provenance: Collection of Grigorios Empedokles
Height: 0,10-0,195m.

Exhibition Room-Date-Inv. no.: aryballos Ε 996 (Case 12, no. 5, 50-100 AD), trefoil-mouthed wine jug Ε 1159 (Case 13, no. 5, 2nd century AD), conical jug Ε 1626 (Case 14, no. 6, 3rd century AD), flask Ε 990 (Case 14, no. 12, 2nd-3rd century AD)

These four containers, which held liquids such as perfumed oils or wine, were used for cosmetics, for performing libations or as tableware and were also employed as burial offerings. They were manufactured by means of the free-blowing. This technique which was used from the second half of the 1st century BC simplified and speeded up the production of glass vessels. From now glass artefacts were transformed from rare luxury items into goods available to broader social classes. Blown pots of the Roman period display extremely thin walls.

The glass-maker blows through a long, hollow metal tube into a lump of glass, causing it to swell and creating a bubble inside it. He gradually shapes the glass bubble, by blowing, rotating the blow-pipe, warming the glass, and using various tools. When he has achieved the desired shape, he knocks the vase off from the pipe, often attaching a rod to the base, which enables him to complete the vase by shaping the rim and adding handles and base. After the middle of the 1st century AD, the technique of mould-blowing appeared which made it possible to manufacture and decorate the glass object simultaneously.

Τhe collection of glass vessels of the National Archaeological Museum includes both ordinary and exceptional shapes which show the contribution of Greece to glassmaking and bear witness to the presence of imports from east and west.

Βibliography: G. Davidson Weinberg-M.C. McClellan, Glass vessels in ancient Greece. Their history illustrated from the Collection of the National Archaeological Museum, Athens, Δημοσιεύματα του Αρχαιολογικού Δελτίου 47, Athens1992. L. Barkόczi, Antike Glaser, Biblioteca Archaeologica 19, Monumenta Antiquitatis extra fines Hungariae Reperta V, Rome 1996. P. Τriantaphyllides, Ροδιακή υαλουργία Ι. Τα εν θερμώ διμορφωμένα διαφανή αγγεία πολυτελείας. Οι κλασικοί και οι πρώιμοι ελληνιστικοί χρόνοι. Athens 2000. Ν. Κaltsas et alii, Fragile luxury. Glass vessels in the National Archaeological Museum, pamphlet of the homonymous exhibition, Αthens 2002.

Position in the museum
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