Ewer Signed by Ennion (139)
Probably Syria; possibly Palestine
Mid-first century A.D.
H: 23.8 cm, Diam: 10.8 cm
The discovery that vessels could be formed and decorated by inflating a gob of glass in a mold permitted large numbers of virtually identical objects to be produced quickly and inexpensively.
The first-century Roman writer Pliny believed that glassmaking had been invented at Sidon (in modern Lebanon), which in his day was still a famous center of production. For this reason, the earliest mold-blown vessels are frequently described as “Sidonian,” although we cannot be sure if any were actually made there.
The finest “Sidonian” vessels bear the signature of Ennion. The quality of the vessel depended on the quality of the mold in which it was blown. Ennion may have been a particularly skillful moldmaker, rather than the proprietor or gaffer (master craftsman) of a glassmaking workshop. On this ewer, the signature (“Ennion made [it]”), written in Greek, is in a panel beneath the handle.