• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 13850

    Ancient Glass from the Shlomo Moussaieff Collection

    6 July 2016, London, King Street

  • Lot 215

    A ROMAN "SPLASHED" GLASS ARYBALLOS

    CIRCA 1ST CENTURY A.D.

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A ROMAN "SPLASHED" GLASS ARYBALLOS
    CIRCA 1ST CENTURY A.D.
    Pale aubergine in colour, the exterior with blobbed splashes of opaque white and opaque blue, the nearly spherical body with a cylindrical neck and collared rim, with twin handles applied at shoulder and beneath collared rim, on a flattened base
    3 ½ in. (9 cm.) high


    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    Contact the department

    The "splash" technique was achieved by attaching colored chips to the vessel, then reheating and marvering the surface. The vessel was then further inflated (for further, see Whitehouse, 1997, p. 207). It has been suggested that such "splashed" vessels may have been intended to imitate the highly sought-after mosaic glass of the 1st Century B.C. (see Harden, 1987, p. 101). This technique was short-lived - according to Whitehouse, "a cautious interpretation of the available evidence suggests a starting date in the early first century, a peak of production around 50, and a terminal date around 70" (op. cit.). In addition to this limited period of production, very few of the known "splashed" vessels are aryballoi: another aubergine example, formerly in the Demeulenaere collection, is now in the Nico Bijnsdorp collection, and a third was sold at Christie's New York in June 2004. For further examples see Clemenz & Steinemann, 1981, nos 235-6; no. 235 was once Benzian collection (Benzian Collection of Ancient and Islamic Glass; Sotheby's, London, 7 July 1994, lot 134). The present lot is an extremely rare and incredibly exciting snapshot of the creativity and flair of the Julio-Claudian master glassmaker.

    Provenance

    Acquired prior to 1998.