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The oldest glass vessel known on the island is in the shape of a Base Ring juglet that dates to the end of the 15th century B.C., which is of Syro-Cypriot origin. A more interesting object in the history of glass-making on Cyprus is a type of pomegranate bottle that differs in shape from its Egyptian prototypes, and dates from the 14th to 13th centuries B.C. There is a gap following these two, until the appearance of polychrome core-formed vessels, often called Phoenician, in the second half of the 6th century B.C. These vessels are extremely numerous on Cyprus, as are small glass pendants (6th - 2nd centuries B.C.) in the shape of human heads, both of which could have been produced locally.  

The glass industry throughout the Roman world was transformed by the invention of glass-blowing toward the end of the first century B.C. Glass objects which had previously been luxury items became much more widely available and affordable. Articles were made for everyday use, both as tableware and for cosmetic purposes. Workshops that produced the more common shapes were established on Cyprus (independent Cypriot glass production) as they were elsewhere throughout the Roman Empire. Production centers have been found at Salamis and several other sites. There was a blown glass factory at Tamassos, partially excavated by Richter in the 19th century, which probably dated to the 2nd-3rd centuries A.D.

Shapes favored by the Cypriot glass-blowers include jars, beakers, and flasks for oil or perfume called unguentaria. Those in the Semitic Museum's Cesnola Collection are in three shapes: bell-shaped, candlestick, and tubular. There are also beakers and jars. The Cypriot unguentaria, which are larger than those found elsewhere in the ancient Near East, tend to become smaller over time, illustrating the economic tendency of the glass-blower.

  Tiny glass tubular unguentaria (see 1995.10.1057), also known as "tear bottles," were thought perhaps to have contained the tears of relatives of the deceased, although they could have as easily held precious oils, and acted as a perfume container. They have been found in contexts outside of tombs. A certain shape of jar which was peculiar to Cyprus, called a sack-shaped beaker, often had a lid which was painted on the inside of the glass with allegorical scenes. The paint was not fired, so it flakes off very easily.

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