Mosaic glass inlays and spindle whorls

Object number
Object: Mosaic glass inlays and spindle whorls

Material: Polychrome mosaic glass.

Period: 1st cent. BC to 1st cent. AD.
During the period of Roman rule in Egypt.
The spindle whorls could be from later centuries, from the early Christian to the early Islamic era.

Description:    Group of 7 fragments of beautifully designed glass inlays. Including two fragments with polychrome floral decoration. Additionally 2 glass spindle whorls. The disc-shaped weights could be attached to a spindle via the central through hole.

Background: Glass inlays were a popular decoration during the early Roman Imperial period and used in various provinces. This group with some elaborately decorated pieces was probably made in Egypt. The traditional glass workshops there must have produced significant quantities of mosaic glass for decoration purposes.

Dimensions: Up to 39mm length of the inlay fragments and up to 17mm diameter of the spindle whorls.

Condition: Fragments. Good condition.

Provenance: Acquired by us on the UK art market in 2021. Previously in a British collection. Acquired at Bonhams London sale of 1 May 2013, part of lot 214 (the entire lot sold for GBP 5000, equivalent to around EUR 6000 at the time). Previously in interim ownership. Acquired in 1998 at the British art gallery Lennox in London. Previously and since circa 1969 in the British R. Bussey collection. It was a collection with numerous glass objects from the eastern Mediterranean region, which was probably acquired on the art market at the time.

References: This group is published in the catalogue Bonhams London 1 May 2013, lot 214.
Cf. Metropolitan Museum of Art, acc. nos. 17.194.385 and 17.194.388a–c. and 17.194.390.
An uncut mosaic glass bar with similar floral decoration, resembling an earlier stage in production, can be found on the art market in the sale Christie's London 26 April 2012, lot 66, as well as finished inlays similar to the ones offered here, lot 69 in the same sale (40 fragments of inlays, sold for GBP 49,250 GBP, equivalent to around EUR 61,500 at the time).

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