© Erimtan Archaeology and Arts Museum

Name of Object:

Perfume Bottle


Ankara, Turkey

Holding Museum:

Erimtan Archaeology and Arts Museum


Late first century BC

Type of object:

Glass Artefacts

Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Glass; Free blown, applied trails


Height: 4.33cm; Diameter rim: 1.8cm; Diameter General: 3.35cm

Period / Dynasty:

Early Imperial Period




This little toilette/perfume bottle was produced by using the free-blowing technique which was discovered by the glass-makers along the Syro-Palestinian coast possibly around in the middle of the 1st century BC. It has an opaque white decoration on the purple body. Its rim is folded out rolled up and over; with bevelled outer lip and flattened into side of mouth. It has a cylindrical neck; a globular body and a flat bottom. The trail wound around shoulder and body is also seen, ending in a thick marvered spiral on the bottom. The bottle is almost in an intact situation, except for the fugitive sections of the trail decoration, a small hole and a crack in the side. It is hard to determine the quality of the glass due to the patches of black, enamel-like weathering and iridescence around the bottle. The vessel is still full of dry and compacted earth.
The invention of ‘free-blowing’ technique revolutionized the glass industry. It allowed vessels to be mass-produced thus rendering them less expensive and available to a wider market so that by the end of the 1st century AD free blown glass vessels were used widely throughout the Roman Empire. The majority were undecorated utilitarian pieces, used for storage and transport, and tablewares, like beakers and plates, but others were embellished with applied decoration. While still hot their bodies were rolled over loose glass chips of contrasting colours and then marvered flush with the wall of the vessel. Next, the pieces where reheated and further inflated and manipulated, so that when their necks were pulled out of their bodies the splashes also became elongated.
Allowed thinning of the walls and the construction of larger and transparent closed forms.

How date and origin were established:

By stylistic analysis and material dating

How Object was obtained:

By purchase

Selected bibliography:

Baykan, C. and Baykan, D., Eskiçağ’da Cam, İstanbul: Türk Eskiçağ Bilimleri Enstitüsü Yayınları, 2013.
Fleming, S. J., Roman Glass: Reflections on Cultural Change, Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, 1999.
Lightfoot, C. S. and Arslan, M. (eds), Ancient Glass of Asia Minor: The Yüksel Erimtan Collection, Ankara: Ünal Ofset, 1992.
Newby, M. S., Glass of Four Millennia, Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 2000.
Özgümüş, Ü. C., Çağlar Boyu Cam Tasarımı, İstanbul: Arkeoloji ve Sanat Yayınları, 2013.

Citation of this web page:

Ezgi Özdemir, Selma Ünal "Perfume Bottle" in MWNF GALLERIES , Museum With No Frontiers, 2020. http://www.museumwnf.org/thematicgallery/thg_galleries/database_item.php?itemId=objects;DGA;tr;Mus41;6;en&id=glass

Prepared by: Ezgi Özdemir, Selma Ünal

MWNF Working Number: TUR1_006