Mosaic Glass Cup and Dish Sets

  • Eastern Mediterranean of Italy
  • 1st century B.C. - 1st century A.D.
Catalogue Entry

Cups and dishes cast from mosaic fragments aligned in a mold. The two dishes are almost the same size and shape, with bent walls and flat bases. The bases have attached feet made of dark green glass. The interior surface of the base has a single thin groove cut into its center and two concentric grooves further out. The central groove has its small raised center left intact, while the area between the two outer grooves has been carved away to leave a single boundary line. The mosaic glass units which were used to form the vessels are essentially the same, and consist of three types of concentric circular patterns and swirl patterns made up cut groups of rods made of dark purple translucent glass, turquoise translucent glass, and yellow, white, red and green glass. There are also a small number of stripe-pattern mosaic glass fragments in the design. These various types of concentric circular patterns are characteristic of the Roman period.

The two cups are almost the same size and shape, This is the same type of vessel as seen at cat. No. 82. Unlike their paired dishes, the feet of these bowls are made of attached swirls of dark purple glass. The mosaic units which make up the cups are essentially the same as those seen in their paired dishes.

It is extremely rare to find sets of highly breakable glass vessels, and these vividly colored mosaic glass vessels were used as luxurious dishes for eating and drinking and were important tools on the elegant tables of their day.