Roman Marble Vase

SKU PF.5605

1st century AD – 3rd century AD


24.5″ (62.2cm) high





Gallery Location



The majority of vessels that have come down to us from antiquity were generally of the utilitarian type. Pottery, while often embellished with painted decorations, was molded for the purpose of storing, transporting, and serving water, wines, and oils. Today these vessels are prized for their beauty and rarity. A vase like this one, however, was treasured in its own time. This is no mere piece of pottery to be found in your average Roman villa. The workmanship and detail of this piece alone attests to its value. Expertly carved out of a single large block of marble, the elegant shape of the vase and the engraved patterns imitate other terracotta examples. Two swirling handles connect the shoulders of the body to the rim. This work must have been a gorgeous decorative element in an ancient Roman palazzo. Such a large, heavy vessel clearly would have been too cumbersome for functional purposes. This extraordinary vase was clearly a treasure in its own time is even more spectacular today. More than a vessel, this vase is a symbol of the glories of antiquity as a whole, of the achievements of the ancients, and of the eternal beauty of art.

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