Glass double unguentarium

Object number
Object: Glass double unguentarium with handle

Material: Turquoise glass.

Period: 4th cent. AD to 6th cent. AD.
Late Antiquity. Late Roman or Early Byzantine.

Description:    The glass vessel called double unguentarium consists of twin tubes fused at the bottom. An applied spiral trailing decorates the middle part. On the sides of the tubes there is a handle that runs in a large diamond shape above the vessel. The handle is curved like a wave at the contact points to the tube.

Background:    It is a typical shape for late Roman to early Byzantine cosmetic bottles. The vessel type is interpreted as a container for kohl (kajal). It was particularly common in Palestine and is now found there mostly in funerary context.

Dimensions: 22.4cm height including handle. 10.5cm height excluding handle. 9.3cm width including handle.

Condition: Very good condition for a glass vessel of this size and complexity. The body of the vessel is completely preserved, including the small side handles and the fine trailing. The large handle is restored from several fragments. There are two open fractures at the mid-level where there may once have been an extension that added further complexity to the handle. The glass surface is covered with an attractive find patina and is iridescent in places.

Provenance: Acquired by us on the US-American art market in 2022. From the US-American Kislak family foundation. Previously in the US-American private collection of Jay I. Kislak (1922-2018). Acquired into the collection in 1985 from the antiquities dealer A. Klein in Jerusalem, Israel, and exported to the United States in 1986. We have a copy of the certificate and description from A. Klein. A local use and production in the Roman province of Judaea can be assumed.

The real estate entrepreneur Jay I. Kislak (1922-2018) had a wide range of historical and cultural interests. With great energy he built up an important collection, also including numerous Roman antiquities with a focus on glasses and pottery from the Holy Land.
Academically and politically, Mr. Kislak was engaged, for example, in the US Department of State Cultural Property Advisory Committee, in the historical associations of Florida and Southern Florida, and at the universities of Miami and St. Leo.
His interest in local history led to the establishment of an impressive Florida and American history collection. But it was precisely this most important part of the collection that Mr. Kislak let go first. He donated 4,000 works on American history to the US Library of Congress in 2004. As of 2017, four exhibition locations were opened, at the University of Miami, Miami Dade College, and later at the University of Pennsylvania and Monmouth University. They serve for the cultural education of new generations.
In this spirit of promoting education, further objects were placed on the art market. This is how a family foundation was financed, set up to pursue educational goals. The first major auction took place at Sotheby's New York in 2021 and focused on recent and modern pieces from the collection.
The objects from the Jay I. Kislak Collection that have returned to the market cycle of art not only inspire directly, but also promote the cultural interest of new generations through funding from the Kislak Foundation.

References: Cf. Museum of Fine Arts Houston, object no. 70.90.
Cf. Kemper Art Museum, object no. WU 2651.
For a similar piece on the art market see Christie's auction New York 3 June 1999, lot 191 (sold for 1,380 USD, or 1,200 EUR at the time).

Authenticity: We unconditionally guarantee the authenticity of every artefact, all items are subject to our lifetime return policy on authenticity.