Glass; H. 2 15/16 in. (7.4 cm); H. 3 3/16 in. (8.1 cm)
Theodore M. Davis Collection, Bequest of Theodore M. Davis, 1915 (30.115.16)
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917 (17.194.259)
A Roman innovation on the use of gold-band glass included the formation of bottles such as the two shown here. Bottles like these were designed to hold the scented oils and perfumes used in all manner of daily activities, such as the morning toilette of a Roman woman or funerary rituals and ceremonies for the deceased. The gold leaf, encased in strips of colorless glass, is shattered in these objects, perhaps indicating that they were reheated and either blown or recast after their initial casting. The swirled and marbled pattern of the colored bands is similar to that of onyx glass (91.1.1303), another innovation of the Romans. The marbled effects of onyx glass sought to imitate the natural effects of the stone onyx, and the use of amber brown and opaque white glass for these objects further enhanced the illusion. While gold-band glass did not directly imitate a natural stone material, the effect of the marbled pattern and shattered gold leaf are striking nonetheless.