• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 12256

    Antiquities

    12 April 2016, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 113

    A ROMAN GLASS SNAKE THREAD SPRINKLER FLASK

    CIRCA LATE 2ND-EARLY 3RD CENTURY A.D.

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A ROMAN GLASS SNAKE THREAD SPRINKLER FLASK
    CIRCA LATE 2ND-EARLY 3RD CENTURY A.D.
    Pale green in color, free blown, the piriform body on a ring base, with a short cylindrical neck and wide flaring mouth, an interior diaphragm at the base of the neck, applied "snake" threads in round loops and swirls throughout the body, subsequently flattened and nicked with short tool strokes
    4 5/16 in. (10 cm.) high


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    The technique seen here is termed "snake" thread decoration because of the serpentine manner in which the trail wanders over the surface to create abstract designs. It was practiced in both the eastern and western areas of the Roman Empire, though current scholarly opinion suggests it originated in the East and quickly spread to the West (D.B. Harden, "Snake Thread Glass Found in the East," in JRS 24, pp. 50-54). For a similar example in the Ernesto Wolf Collection see no. 62, p. 166 in E. M. Stern, Roman, Byzantine, and Early Medieval Glass, 10 BCE-700 CE.

    Provenance

    with Boris Mussienko, Upper Marlboro, Maryland.
    Acquired by the current owner from the above, 1980.