It took centuries before a balsamarium could be produced out of the glass of antiquity
"Take 60 parts sand, 180 parts ash from sea plants, 5 parts of chalk - and you get glass."
This statement stands on a clay tablet dating from the 7th century BC, It is from the library of Aschurbanipal, an Assyrian king of the period. The recipe contains all the essential raw materials which were necessary for the production of glass. At the time, its manufacture was by no means easy. It would take several centuries for the blowpipe to be invented in the Syrian Sidon. From that time on, some 200 years BC, glass could be produced in a variety of shapes and for household purposes.
- Dimensions: 10-13cm high
- Glass Colour: Blue/Green
The balsamarium - a bottle for ointments and perfume
In ancient Rome, goods made of glass were coveted luxuries.
In addition to glasses, bottles and cups, little balsamarium were used for storing ointments, oils and perfumes.
Mistakenly, they were often referred to as tear vials as they were found during excavations in graves. It was assumed that the tears of sorrow over the death of the deceased were collected and laid in the grave in them. This was a heart-warming idea, but actually the reason their use was much less sad.
It is well known that the Romans were fond of baths and spas. Beauty and personal care were as important a part of their daily life as food and drink. Both Roman men and Roman women took care of their hair and skin with oils, ointments and perfumes. They were kept in small balsamarium, also called as an unguentarium. These were small vials made of glass or ceramics, which were sealed with cork or wood pieces so that the scent of the precious contents was not lost.
Roman balsamarium from green/blue glass
The balsamarium in blue/green glass has been hand-blown by a French workshop, so the size can vary. It is 9-13cm in height.
It was based on an antique balsamarium from the 1st century BC.
It would be a crying shame not to use it
The small Roman balsamarium is a beautiful addition to a collection of ancient glass objects, but is also suitable for daily use. Give it a chance to do something useful and use it in your bathroom a stylish container for precious lotions or oils.
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