A Roman Skyphos modelled on historical examples
A small Roman Skyphos based on an historic model
The Skyphos depicted is a replica of the 1st cent. AD. model exhibited at the Mainz State Museum. This original Skyphos was found among Roman grave goods in the Weisenau district of Mainz, and is considered a rarity because glass was then a luxury item. An old-established glass factory has reproduced a Skyphos model which is true to the original.
The 11-cm high Skyphos is made of clear glass with a wide flat rim and serpent-shaped handles on either side.
Glass production in antiquity
Glass was made in Asia as early as 3,500 years ago, and the first products were simple, hand-crafted items such as beads or amulets.
Glassware vessels are found from around 1,500 BC, and glass production first flourished in Egypt, Syria and Mesopotamia.
The glass produced at that time bears little resemblance to the glasswork of today, and was cut out of a glass block, or heated and poured into pre-formed moulds, like the process used for ceramics and metalware. Such glassware mainly consisted of small vessels like perfume bottles and containers for ointments. Later techniques brought amazing results, and glasswork featuring mosaic patterns and gold ribbons are among the treasures of the ancient world.
Cicero mentions "Vitrum" (glassware) for the first time in 54 BC when there were household items such as glasses, dishes and bottles, but these were still rare. It was only after the invention of the glass-blowing pipe that it became possible to produce glass of a regular translucent quality. This method came from Syria and then spread to Greece and Rome, and the countries north of the Alps.
- Height – 11cm (approx.)
- Authentic glass mixture – no modern glass
Venice and Murano – leading glass centres in the Middle Ages
The Romans developed exceptional skills, and by the 13th century Venice and Murano had become the centre of glass production in the Western World. This much admired thin-walled, high-quality glass was stylish and elegant and sought after throughout Europe.
It took time for glass producers north of the Alps to acquire the same skills and develop the art of glassmaking to match the standards of Murano's craftsmen.
This small Roman Skyphos will enchant admirers of ancient art
The elegantly curved Skyphos is an exceptionally fine example of ancient Roman craftsmanship. It is an ornament fit for any room and deserves a special setting where its simple beauty can be fully appreciated.
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