Beaker with Dolphins

Object Name: 
Beaker with Dolphins

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Object Name: 
Beaker with Dolphins
Place Made: 
Accession Number: 
Overall H: 20.4 cm; Rim Diam: 7.4 cm
On Display
Web Description: 
Glass is naturally green or amber in color because of impurities (mainly iron) in its principal ingredient, sand or crushed quartzite. Coloring agents (such as cobalt, which produces blue) can change the color of glass, and decolorants can remove the natural color. Chemical analyses have shown that the Romans sometimes used antimony or manganese to decolorize glass. Colorless glass had been produced in Hellenistic times, but it did not become popular until the second half of the first century A.D. This almost colorless beaker was decorated by trailing. Trails of molten glass were dropped onto the surface of the reheated vessel and then drawn out and tooled to produce a pattern of dolphins and water plants. Even after colorless glass had gained favor, it dominated only the upper end of the market. The simplest utilitarian products were still made in naturally colored glass.
Loffler, Karl, Source
Loffler, Karl, Source
Primary Description: 
Colorless glass with a yellow greenish tinge, slightly pitted and iridescent surface; blown with applied snake thread decoration. Rounded, thickened rim flares out sharply from long cylindrical body tapering to a rounded bottom with short solid cylindrical stem and flared foot; body is divided into two registers by two thin trails applied beneath the rim, two in the center and one near the bottom; the top register has three dolphins with full bodies trailing up to V-shaped tails, the tail formed from a pincered or tooled and folded trail, a single trail, tooled with ribbed decoration forms the stylized dorsal fin, mouth and curls under to create a C-shaped pelvic fin; each dolphin is divided from the other by a wide horizontally trail pulled off to the right at its base and is overlapped by an elaborate scalloped trail which is pulled up to the right to frame the bottom and right side of each figure; the lower register has three water lilies or mussels, a V-shaped trail has been tooled to create a wide body from which a central column emerges; the pistil and stamen is surrounded by a thin inverted triangular element with a zigzag top, the right side is a double trail broken away at the end; each is framed by a motif similar to that in the upper register, the base trail forms an elaborate "stem" then trails down to form the elaborate fill ornament below and to the right of the water lily; solid cylindrical stem, applied flared foot with pontil mark.
Treasures from The Corning Museum of Glass
Yokohama Museum of Art 1992-10-12 through 1992-12-13
The Art of Glass: Masterpieces from The Corning Museum of Glass
IBM Gallery 1989-12-12 through 1990-02-03
National Gallery of Art 1990-12 through 1991-04
Glass of the Caesars
British Museum 1987-11-18 through 1988-03-06
Romisch-Germanisches Museum 1988-04-15 through 1988-10-18
Musei Capitolini 1988-11-03 through 1989-01-31
Corning Museum of Glass
Glass: A Short History (Smithsonian Books edition) (2012) illustrated, pp. 34-35; BIB# 130360
Glass: A Short History (The British Museum edition) (2012) illustrated, pp. 34-35; BIB# 135965
Glass: making use of the secrets of matter (2003) illustrated, p. 36; BIB# 76451
Roman Glass in The Corning Museum of Glass, Volume Two (2001) pp. 217-219, pl. 786; BIB# 58895
Roman Glass: Reflections on Everyday Life (1997) illustrated, p. 8 (plate 13); BIB# 41305
Treasures from The Corning Museum of Glass (1992) illustrated, p. 23, #14; p. 246; BIB# 35679
A Short History of Glass (1990 edition) (1990) illustrated, p. 30, #23; p. 33; BIB# 33211
Le Verre des Cesars (1988-02) illustrated, p. 16;
Glass Of The Roman Empire (1988) illustrated, pp. 30-31, fig. 11; pp. 7, 9; BIB# 32608
Roman Glass in The Corning Museum of Glass (postcards) (1987) illustrated, #11; BIB# 34348
Glass of the Caesars (1987) illustrated, p. 139, #67; BIB# 31831
The Corning Museum of Glass Annual Report 1982 (1983) illustrated, p. 7;
Recent Important Acquisitions, 25 (1983) illustrated, p. 257, #1;
Festschrift fur Waldemar Haberey (1976) 156 p.; BIB# 20467