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Roman Glass in The Corning Museum of Glass Volume Three

This volume concludes the survey of one of the world’s most extensive collections of Roman glass. It contains 333 objects, most of which were made between the first and seventh centuries A.D. The catalog entries are divided into four sections.

Section K offers 90 pendants and disks with stamped ornament. These objects served a variety of functions. Many, bearing images of gods or apotropaic symbols, were probably worn to bring good fortune or to avert evil. Others were used as tokens or weights.

Section L describes 63 miscellaneous small objects: rod-formed vessels and pendants, useful objects (stirring rods, strigils, a “needle,” a cosmetic spoon, spindle whorls, and a weight), game pieces (astragali), jewelry found in Roman cemeteries, small mirrors consisting of circular pieces of blown glass, architectural glass (windowpanes), and cullet.

Section M focuses on 75 imitations and forgeries. It includes experimental objects, copies and replicas of the Portland Vase, 19th-century copies and imitations of other Roman and early post-Roman objects, 20th-century objects inspired by Roman originals, conglomerates, and fakes and forgeries. The experimental works help us to understand how ancient glass may have been made. The Portland Vase, the most famous piece of ancient Roman cameo glass, played an important role in 19th-century Historismus. Twentieth-century glassmakers employed Roman glass either as inspiration for their own creations or, in some cases, to deceive buyers into thinking that they had acquired ancient originals.

Section N presents 105 objects that are not found in volumes one and two of this survey, either because they had not been catalogued at the time those volumes were published (1997 and 2001, respectively) or because they were acquired after those dates.

Each catalog entry consists of a detailed description, usually accompanied by a comment on the significance of the object and notes on similar pieces in other collections. Almost every object is illustrated by a color photograph. Objects in sections K, L, and N have a line drawing that shows the profile. The volume also includes concordances, indexes, and an extensive bibliography.

236 pages, 341 color illustrations and drawings
David Whitehouse
Roman Glass in The Corning Museum of Glass, Volume Three