Sunday, 26 September 2021

Ancient Glass - “Drink That You May Live"

Cameo Glass Skyphos, Roman, c. 25 B.C - 25 C.E
The history of glass-making can be traced back to 3500 BC in Mesopotamia. They may have been producing second-rate copies of glass objects from Egypt, where the craft originated. The earliest known glass objects, of the mid second millennium BC, were beads. Glass products remained a luxury until late Bronze Age civilizations seemingly brought glass-making to a halt.

An exhibit at Yale University Art Gallery presented an array of jewelry, cups, bowls, pitchers, flasks, bottles, cosmetic vials and jars from the ancient world. The title of the exhibit, “Drink That You May Live” was drawn from one of the objects in the exhibit — a line also seen on other Roman drinking vessels of antiquity.
Naturally occurring glass, especially the volcanic glass obsidian, has been used by many Stone Age societies across the globe for sharp cutting tools and was extensively traded. As glassmaking processes grew and changed, glass came to replace silver and gold as the most popular medium for drinking vessels.

By the 1st century AD, glass blowing emerged. Production of raw glass was undertaken with large scale manufacturing, primarily in Alexandria. Glass was a commonly available material in the Roman world.

Inscribed Cup, Roman, Eastern Mediterranean, possibly Syrian, 3rd–4th century A.D. Free-blown glass with gold leaf.

Jar with Sixteen Handles, Roman, Eastern Mediterranean, 4th–5th century A.D. Free-blown glass

A bowl from Hellenistic or Roman society, Eastern Mediterranean, late 2nd century B.C.–early 1st century A.D.
Roman cobalt blue glass amphoriskos