About this artwork
Vessels such as this were part of the luxurious domestic decoration displayed in wealthy households in both urban villas and rural estates in the later Roman and early Byzantine eras (about 300–725). Glass vessels were used for a variety of purposes, including cosmetic containers. In the kitchen and for dining, pitchers served water and wine, and small cups were used for drinking. Glass was also used for lamps to light the home.
Byzantine glass craftsmen improved upon the techniques, forms, and decorative motifs they had inherited from their Roman predecessors. An imperial edict of 337 exempted glassworkers from personal taxes and attested to their relative status in society; it remained in effect for several centuries. These artisans would, in turn, pass on their craft to successive generations, including those who worked under Islamic rule after the important Byzantine provinces of Egypt, Palestine, and Syria were conquered in the seventh century.
- Currently Off View
- Arts of the Ancient Mediterranean and Byzantium
- 450 CE–550 CE
- Glass, blown technique
- 15.7 × 6.7 × 6.7 cm (6 1/8 × 2 5/8 × 2 5/8 in.)
- Gift of Theodore W. and Frances S. Robinson