Date flask, mould blown glass, Syria, 3rd-4th Century CE
A good example of a typical series of glassware made by the Syrian glassmakers during the Roman Empire. The dark brown colour is one that the present collection lacks and should have an example of.
The flask is typical of the glassware produced by Syrian glassmakers during the Roman Empire. This type of flask was exported throughout the ancient world. Examples have been found as far afield as Cyprus, Rhodes, South Russia, Dalmatia (Yugoslavia), Italy and Spain.
The invention of glass-blowing to manufacture glass objects probably occurred in about the mid-1st century BCE, in Syria. It involved blowing air into a bulb of molten glass, using a blow-pipe, and inflating the bulb to the desired size. The thinness and transparency of blown glass extended the use to which the material could be put. Mould blowing is where a bulb of glass is inflated inside a mould which could produce unusual shapes and decorative embossed patterns on the glass repeatedly and quickly.
[Nicholas Thomas, 1976, Ancient Glass: the Bomford Collection of Pre-Roman and Roman Glass on loan to the City of Bristol Museum and Art Gallery.]