Glass ribbed bowl

Period: Early Imperial

Date: 1st century A.D.

Culture: Roman

Medium: Glass; cast, tooled, and cut

Dimensions: H.: 1 11/16 in. (4.3 cm)
Diam.: 5 5/8 in. (14.3 cm)

Classification: Glass

Credit Line: Gift of Henry G. Marquand, 1881

Accession Number: 81.10.39


Cast ribbed bowls such as this one became increasingly popular in the late Hellenistic and early Roman periods between the first century B.C. and first century A.D., supplanting their conical (81.10.243) predecessors and becoming a staple of the early Roman glass industry. The manufacture of these bowls combined casting with lathe-turning techniques; the rim of this bowl was finished on a lathe to smooth out imperfections caused in the original forming process. One can see the striking effects of the translucent glass combined with the ribbed design, and upon introduction these objects became common throughout the Mediterranean. The Romans also fashioned them out of mosaic matrices, often in translucent amber and opaque white glass made to imitate the naturally veined effects of expensive objects cut from agate stone, such as the Hellenistic onyx bowl (91.1.1303) in the Metropolitan's collection. Mosaic ribbed bowls are attributed to Italian workshops and reflect the typically Roman habit of adaptation and innovation on an established style of glassware. Ribbed bowls were also one of the most common form of glassware in the first century A.D., the popularity of the cast vessels having stimulated the style's imitation in later free- and mold-blown versions.