Ancient Greece, Hellenistic, ca. 2nd to 1st century BCE. A core-formed glass alabastron, so-named because many vessels that assumed this form were made of alabaster. The vessel is comprised of deep cobalt-blue glass with trails of opaque white and sky blue glass - both linear and feathered in a festoon pattern - adorning the long body. An additional white trail traces the discoid rim. Finally, a pair of applied trail handles adorns the upper body. An elegant example of Hellenistic artistry. Size: 1.375" in diameter at widest point x 4.875" H (3.5 cm x 12.4 cm)
The alabastron is a long-bodied vessel with a rounded bottom, a cylindrical neck, and a flat disk for a mouth. Though usually without handles, some alabastra have trailed handles like this example. According to the Beazley Archive of the University of Oxford, the alabastron shape's history extends back to Corinth, but was only preserved in Athenian pottery examples back to the mid-sixth century BCE. Alabastra were created in many materials, including alabaster, and the Greek term for this stone. Alabastron (most likely of Egyptian origin) - was the source of inspiration for the name of this shaped vessel. Many examples were finished with a white ground, as if to imitate this stone. Others, like this example, were created from colorful glass. We know from vase painting imagery of women using alabastra following a bath, that these vessels most likely held perfumed oils.
According to the Corning Museum of Glass, core forming is "the technique of forming a vessel by winding or gathering molten glass around a core supported by a rod. After forming, the object is removed from the rod and annealed. After annealing, the core is removed by scraping." (https://www.cmog.org/glass-dictionary/core-forming). This process of glass making was begun in the late 16th century BCE by glassmakers of Mesopotamia, and then adopted by Egyptian glassmakers in the 15th century BCE. The technique almost came to an end in the so-called Dark Ages of Mediterranean civilization (1200 to 900 BCE); however, by the 9th century BCE a new generation of glassmakers took up the technique once again, and between the 6th and 4th century BCE core-forming spread throughout the Mediterranean.
Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection; ex-Martin J. Wunsch collection, New York, USA, acquired in the 1980s
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Professionally repaired from several pieces but very well done and repairs are unobtrusive.