A Roman pale green glass fish vessel
Lot 252*
A Roman pale green glass fish vessel
Sold for £17,500 (US$ 29,414) inc. premium
Auction Details
A Roman pale green glass fish vessel A Roman pale green glass fish vessel A Roman pale green glass fish vessel
Lot Details
A Roman pale green glass fish vessel
Eastern Mediterranean, circa 3rd-4th Century A.D.
The free-blown fish with flattened ovoid body, each side with four horizontal ribs, with a vertical thread indicating the gills, the glass pinched in two to form the open mouth, with pinched ridged appliqué forming the dorsal fin, applied with flattened fins at the base of the tail, curving upwards to form the mouth of the vessel, 9in (23cm) long

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    The Cyrus Collection. Property of Fay Safani, New York.
    Inherited from Edward Safani, acquired in 1968.

    Literature:
    For a similar example, cf. Oliver Jr., Ancient Glass in the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh, 1980, no. 150. The catalogue refers to at least seven other fish of this type including one in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, (15.43.168), said to be from Palestine; and one in the Corning Museum of Glass (55.1.94), bought in Lebanon. For other examples cf. N. Kunina, Ancient Glass in the Hermitage Collection, St Petersburg, 1997, pp.156, 294, no.201, fig.121-122.

    Fish were a favourite shape for free-blown flasks as they had no protruding limbs and simple trails could be tooled to form fins and gills. Some of these flasks may have been utilised as tableware, particularly to dispense the popular fish sauce garum, which the Romans used as a salting ingredient.
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