Beaker with Faceted Decoration

Object Name: 
Beaker with Faceted Decoration

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Object Name: 
Beaker with Faceted Decoration
Accession Number: 
Overall H: 14.8 cm; Rim Diam: 7.9 cm
On Display
Web Description: 
Roman glassworkers sometimes finished their products by cutting, grinding, and polishing. They had learned these techniques from lapidaries, who employed them in completing works made of semiprecious stone. Very little is known about the tools used in this process, although the Roman writer Pliny provides some information about the working of semiprecious stones with abrasives. The same abrasives were probably also used in the cold-working of glass. Indeed, it is likely that some craftsmen worked with both materials. Some of the glass objects finished by cutting, engraving, and wheel abrading featured faceted decoration. One of them was a conical beaker with 11 rows of mostly diamond-shaped facets made by grinding and polishing. Similar beakers have been found all over the Roman Empire, in Scandinavia, and in Afghanistan.
Smith, Ray Winfield (American, 1897-1982), Source
Primary Description: 
Greenish-colorless glass; blown, turned, cut. Slender conical beaker with splayed foot; rim ground flat, with molding at edge; straight tapering side, which changes angle and curves slightly near bottom; splayed foot, hollow, but with low boss underneath; on wall, between offset and ledge, eleven rows of facets, mostly diamond-shaped, in quincunx, top and bottom rows rounded, top row with small U-shaped facet between each pair.
Metropolitan Museum of Art 2014-12-09 through 2015-04-13
Corning Museum of Glass 2015-05-16 through 2016-01-04
At the end of the first century B.C., glassmakers working in the environs of Jerusalem made a revolutionary breakthrough in the way glass was made. They discovered that glass could be inflated at the end of a hollow tube. This technical achievement—glassblowing—made the production of glass vessels much quicker and easier, and allowed glassmakers to develop new shapes and decorative techniques. One technique, inflating glass in molds carved with decorative and figural designs, was used to create multiple examples of a variety of vessel shapes with high-relief patterns. The molds used to shape this ancient glass were complex in their design, and the mold-blown glass vessels of ancient Rome tell a wealth of stories about the ancient world, from gladiators to perfume vessels, from portraits of a Roman empress to oil containers marked with the image of Mercury, Roman god of trade. Among the earliest workshops to design and create mold-blown glass was one in which a man named Ennion worked. Ennion was the first glassmaker to sign his glass objects by incorporating his name into the inscriptions that formed part of the mold’s design, and thus he stands among a small group of glass workers whose names have come down to us from antiquity. On view through January, 4, 2016, Ennion and His Legacy, is composed of mold-blown master works by Ennion and other Roman glassmakers. The works are drawn from the Corning Museum’s collection of Roman glass, one of the finest in the world. Within the larger exhibit is a smaller exhibit organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Ennion: Master of Roman Glass, which focuses specifically on works made by Ennion. Composed of loans from a number of international institutions and private collections this exhibit within an exhibit brings together many of the known examples of Ennion’s wares and will be on view through October 19, 2015.
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 from the Ancient World
Corning Museum of Glass 1957-06-04 through 1957-09-15
Verres Antiques de la Collection R.W. Smith
Musee de Mariemont 1954 through 1954
Glassware and Glassworking in Thessaloniki: 1st Century BC-6th Century AD (2017) illustrated, p. 19 (fig. 20);
Cage Cups: Late Roman Luxury Glasses (2015) illustrated, p. 25; BIB# 146773
Afghanistan: Forging Civilizations along the Silk Road (2012) illustrated, p. 59, fig. 10; BIB# 132698
Fire and Ice: Ancient Glass in the Princeton University Art Museum (2012) illustrated, p. 26, fig. 43;
Glass and rock crystal: a multifaceted relationship (1997) illustrated, p. 202 ff.; p. 198, fig. 6;
Roman Glass in The Corning Museum of Glass, Volume One (1997) p. 233, #395; p. 367, #395; BIB# 58895
All About Glass = Garasu Daihyakka (1993) p. 30; BIB# 36566
Glass of the Caesars (1987) illustrated, p. 195, #105; BIB# 31831
Early Roman Faceted Glass (1984) illustrated, pp. 35-58, p. 49, #30;
Glass from the Ancient World: The Ray Winfield Smith Collection (1957) illustrated, pp. 176-177, #357; BIB# 27315