Cage Cup

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Object Name: 
Cage Cup
Place Made: 
Accession Number: 
Overall Diam (max): 12.2 cm; Cup H: 7.4 cm; Metal Collar H: 0.5, Diam: 11 cm, Th: 0.1 cm; Hook and Loop: 17 cm; Looped Elements: 18.8 cm
On Display
Credit Line: 
Purchased with funds from the Arthur Rubloff Residuary Trust
Web Description: 
Cage cups are the most exclusive luxury glasses made in the later Roman Empire. They date from about A.D. 250 to the mid-fourth century. Cutting and grinding a single thick-walled blank was a laborious and risky process. If just one mesh of the cage was broken, the entire vessel had to be scrapped. For this reason, cage cups were exceptional objects. They were often owned by the most privileged members of Roman society. Some cage cups are shaped like beakers and inscribed with toasts such as “Drink! May you live for many years!” Others, including the example shown here, are shaped like bowls. The metal fittings indicate that this object was meant to be suspended. It is possible that bowl-shaped cage cups were hanging lamps rather than drinking vessels.
McKinley, Gawain, Source
Primary Description: 
Colorless glass; cast or blown, wheel-cut, with copper alloy attachments. Hemispherical body; outsplayed rim with ground lip and raised molding at its neck. Decorated with openwork band at base of neck and openwork cage enclosing body; band consists of ovolo frieze with fifty-nine egg-shaped perforations separated by darts; cage consists of central mesh surrounded by two rings of meshes and concentric border; central mesh, evidently circular, was attached to body by seven bridges; inner ring has seven heart-shaped meshes, outer ring has fourteen oval meshes; in both rings, small cruciform element at junction of each pair of meshes conceals bridge; serrated bar at upper end of each heart-shaped mesh also conceals bridge, as does V-shaped element at upper extremity of each oval mesh, where it meets border; around border, between each pair of meshes, one additional bridge; collar, presumably, copper alloy. Single strip with one end terminating in perforated tongue, the other terminating in two perforated tongues, one above the other; tongues fastened with pin with diamond-shaped head, bent in position; at regular intervals around collar, three horizontal flanges, L: 1.1 cm, W: 0.8 cm, Th.: 0.1 cm, each with circular perforation; lamp-hanger, presumably copper alloy. Composite object comprising hook-and-loop and three looped elements; hook-and-loop has upper end bent into hook, long shank, D: 0.2 cm, and lower end looped and wound six times around shank; each looped element has straight rod, D: 0.2 cm, flattened and perforated at ends, six twisted figure-of-eight links, and hook-and-loop.
J. Paul Getty Museum 2007-10-18 through 2008-01-14
Corning Museum of Glass 2008-02-15 through 2008-05-27
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
Word Becomes Image (2015) illustrated, pp. 270-271;
Contemporary Glass Vessels: Selections from the Corning Museum of Glass (2015) illustrated, p. 18 (fig. 19); BIB# 149403
Cage Cups: Late Roman Luxury Glasses (2015) illustrated, cover, pp. 10, 17, 84-85; BIB# 146773
Shanghai bo li bo wu guan = Shanghai Museum of Glass (2014) illustrated, p. 102; BIB# 149066
Celebrating David Whitehouse (2013) illustrated, p. 6, second from left; BIB# AI93999
Escort Guide to the Galleries (2013) illustrated, p. 13; BIB# 134015
Escort Guide to the Galleries [V4/2013] (2013) illustrated, p. 13; BIB# 134856
Glorious Glass (2012-05) illustrated, p. 31; BIB# AI98749
Glass: A Short History (Smithsonian Books edition) (2012) illustrated, p. 37; BIB# 130360
Glass: A Short History (The British Museum edition) (2012) illustrated, p. 37; BIB# 135965
Fire and Ice: Ancient Glass in the Princeton University Art Museum (2012) illustrated, p. 28, fig. 50;
Molten Color: Glassmaking in Antiquity (2011) illustrated, p. 92, fig. 65; pp. 77-78; BIB# 121973
Infinite Obsessions (2011) illustrated, p. 99; BIB# 123028
The Yearning for Venetian Glass: Beauty that Traversed Oceans and Time (2011) illustrated, p. 21, fig. 7;
The Cage Cup (family) (2011)BIB# 131523
Cage Cup (adult) (2011)BIB# 131527
Glass, Knocking at the Door of Art (2010) illustrated, p. 28; BIB# 115616
Medieval Glass for Popes, Princes, and Peasants (2010) illustrated, pp. 94-95, #2; BIB# 115588
Annual Seminar at The Corning Museum of Glass held in October (2009-10) illustrated, p. 60;
Corning Museum of Glass (2009-01) illustrated, p. 5; BIB# 109342
The Joy of Coldworking (2009) illustrated, p. 16; BIB# 107182
Die nicht-geblasenen antiken Glasgefasse (2009) illustrated, p. 80; BIB# 110654
Reflecting Antiquity: Modern Glass Inspired by Ancient Rome (2008-04) illustrated, p. 1;
Modern Glass Inspired By Ancient Rome (2008-02-22) illustrated, p. 2;
Casting Poetic Sentiment: Glass Art Creation Methodology (2008) illustrated, p. 8, fig. 3; BIB# 107146
Ecouri ale Romei antice in sticlaria moderna (2008) illustrated, p. 85, bottom; BIB# AI97179
Interior Design and Decoration (6th ed.) (2008) illustrated, pp. 96-97, fig. 5-35; BIB# 96297
The Gather (2007) illustrated, p. 4, top left;
Tesori del Vetro al Corning Museum of Glass (2005-12) illustrated, pp. 19-20; p. 19, fig. 3; BIB# AI67739
Looking at Glass: A Guide to Terms, Styles, and Techniques (2005) illustrated, p. 22, frontispiece (detail); BIB# 79754
Looking at Glass: A Guide to Terms, Styles and Techniques (2005) illustrated, p. 22, frontispiece (detail); BIB# 99164
Glass in Art, History, and Science at The Corning Museum of Glass (2003) illustrated, p. 69, no. 8;
First Glass (2001) illustrated, p. 7;
Turkish Glass Culture and Its Relationship with Contemporary Glass and Education (2000) illustrated, insert between p. 22 and 23, fig. 6; pp. 25-26; p. 204; BIB# 74240
Art and Science (1999) p. 109; BIB# 64232
Uncovering treasures in the Empire State (1999) p. 133, fig. 12; BIB# AI43699
Clearly Inspired. Contemporary Glass and Its Origins (1999) illustrated, p. 18; BIB# 61797
Antike Glastopferei (1999) illustrated, p. 114, no. 283; BIB# 63570
Roman Glass in The Corning Museum of Glass, Volume One (1997) illustrated, opp. title p.; pp. 283-285, #478A-E; p. 380, #478A-B; BIB# 58895
Notes: Check List of Recently Published Articles and Books on Glass (1997) illustrated, p. 288;
The Corning Museum of Glass, Curators' Choice (1995) illustrated, #4; BIB# 36655
The Corning Museum of Glass and the Finger Lakes Region (1993) illustrated, p. 38, bottom row, right; BIB# 35681
Luxury Glass in Late Antiquity (1992) illustrated, p. 108, fig. 5; BIB# 87049
Luxury Glass in Late Antiquity (1992) illustrated, p. 108, fig. 5; BIB# AI35748
Learning by Experiment: Ancient Objects and Modern Copies (1991) illustrated, pp. 97-101; p. 99, fig. 17;
The Corning Museum of Glass Annual Report 1989 (1990) illustrated, p. 12;
A Short History of Glass (1990 edition) (1990) illustrated, pp. 28, 32; p. 31, #22; BIB# 33211
L'Histoire du Verre: A Travers Les Tresors du Musee de Corning (1990) illustrated, p. 56;
Corporate America Design Awards - Special Honors Sheer Energy (1989-04) illustrated, p. 121;
The Corning Museum of Glass Annual Report 1987 (1988) illustrated, cover, p. 5;
Glass Of The Roman Empire (1988) illustrated, pp. 50-51, fig. 21; pp. 7, 9; BIB# 32608
A Recently Discovered Cage Cup (1988) illustrated, cover, frontispiece; pp. 28-30, figs. 1-4;
Glass of the Caesars (1987-08) illustrated, p. 83; BIB# AI18756