Collection of Ancient Glass

Objects from the collection of ancient glass displayed in glass cases.

Installation of ancient glass in the Mary and James Ottaway Gallery of Ancient Dura-Europos

A new installation at the Gallery features highlights from its extraordinary collection of ancient glass, which is one of the largest and best in the country. The display showcases 56 exquisite and rare examples of Near Eastern, Egyptian, Greek, and Roman glass that range from the 14th century B.C. to the 7th century A.D. The selection represents the full spectrum of masterful techniques and styles developed during the early history of glassmaking, illustrating the high level of artistry achieved by glassmakers in the ancient world.

On view are works of mosaic glass, which inspired the later artisans of Renaissance Venice; free-blown and mold-blown glass; core-formed and cast glass; and vessels adorned with marbled and splashed glass, gilding, or threads of molten glass. While the names of most ancient glassmakers are unknown today, the most accomplished among them did sign their works. One of the most spectacular vessels in the installation is a bowl signed by the Roman glassmaker Ennion, a master of mold-blown glass in the early to mid-1st century A.D. The bowl is one of about 20 surviving vessels that bear his signature.

Lisa R. Brody
Associate Curator of Ancient Art