Advanced Search

Bottle

Artist/Maker: Artist Unknown (Artist Unknown)

Date: 2nd to 4th century
Medium: glass
Dimensions:
Overall: 6 7/8 x 3 x 2 1/2 in. (17.5 x 7.6 x 6.4 cm)
Classification: Containers
Credit Line: Museum purchase through funds from Myrna and Sheldon Palley in honor of the 50th Anniversary of the Lowe Art Museum
Terms
Object number: 2002.11.5
DescriptionMedicines and their ingredients were stored and transported in small, hand blown glass medicinal bottles. This “apothecary” glass has been in use for nearly 2,000 years. The earliest examples were the Roman unguentaria, or teardrop bottles, made by the thousand from the end of the first century until about 500. For a skilled glass worker, they were simple to make. A tiny gather of glass was blown into a bulb and the neck pulled with tools to elongate it. The vial would then be sheared from the blow pipe, leaving a simple, flared top. In later centuries, the shapes of these medicinal bottles became more complex. Glass was also used to hold perfume. Every morning, a well-to-do Roman lady would have herself bathed and made-up by her maids before visiting or being visited by her friends. The favorite scents were toilet waters prepared with French lavender, saffron, and crushed rose petals. In the evening, heavier perfumes based on cinnamon and myrrh might be worn.
On view