- An amorphous, inorganic substance made by fusing silica (silicon dioxide) with a basic oxide; generally transparent but often translucent or opaque. Its characteristic properties are its hardness and rigidity at ordinary temperatures, its capacity for plastic working at elevated temperatures, and its resistance to weathering and to most chemicals except hydrofluoric acid. Used for both utilitarian and decorative purposes, it can be formed into various shapes, colored or decorated. Glass originated as a glaze in Mesopotamia in about 3500 BCE and the first objects made wholly of glass date to about 2500 BCE.
- Containers probably used to hold ointments and perfume. Early ceramic examples found at Petra (probably 4th-century BCE) were in the typical Hellenistic form of the spindle bottle, but this form was later completely replaced by a series of high-necked types with round to ovoid bodies of varying and apparently standardized forms (from the 1st century BCE onwards). The number of unguentaria found at Petra suggests that they were made locally; their manufacture would have been linked to the myrrh and other unguents that the Nabataeans traded. They have also been found at western sites. Pear-shaped glass unguentaria were later made at various locations in the Arabian peninsula.
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This object was included in the following exhibitions:
Shifting Sands: Roman Glass in the Bryn Mawr College Collections
Bryn Mawr College
, 10/15/2007 - 5/30/2008
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