Glass oinochoe (jug)

Period: Early Imperial, Augustan or Julio-Claudian

Date: late 1st century B.C.–early 1st century A.D.

Culture: Roman

Medium: Glass; cast and blown, and cut

Dimensions: H. 7 1/8 in. (18.1 cm); diameter 3 3/8 in. (8.6 cm)

Classification: Glass

Credit Line: Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917

Accession Number: 17.194.170


This elegant jug, the shape of which imitates that of a metal vessel, shows how quickly the newly founded Roman glass industry mastered its medium. The jug is so expertly crafted that modern scholars have disagreed about its method of manufacture. Some maintain that its body was cast and carved, while others regard it as an exquisite piece of early free-blown production. The handle was cold-carved and the base was cut on a lathe–both highly unusual techniques for blown glass that are paralleled only in some examples of early Roman cameo glass. It is therefore likely that the jug was made in a workshop closely associated with those that produced luxury cameos and that it represents a transitional phase in glassmaking when both casting and blowing techniques were used.