A superb example of a sand core dark blue glass oenochoe of Greek or Egyptian origin. The pear-shaped jug has a trefoil mouth, convex handle, and a round splayed foot. The central part of the body is decorated with a spiral yellow thread above a yellow zig-zag motif, below which is a turquoise zig zag section above another spiral yellow thread. The rim of the mouth and the foot are decorated with a yellow border.
The height of the jug is 3 1/4", with a diameter at its widest point of 1 3/4" and a foot diameter of 1". Amazingly, and in great contrast to the majority of examples still extant, this piece is in excellent condition, with no chips, cracks, repairs, or paint restoration. The slight irregularity of the foot was in the making, and not due to damage. The surface of the vial does have scattered scratching, as would be expected, but it is of little import and does not affect the decoration. The sixth and seventh photos were lightened in order to highlight the decoration and the surface. Truly a rare and exceptional piece.
NOTES: 1.Oenochoai (the plural form, and from the Greek meaning wine and pour) were used as wine jugs, and miniatures, such as the example here, were often placed in the graves of children or used as perfume vials, stopped with cork wrapped in linen.
2. To make this type vessel, the glassmaker fashioned a core out of clay mixed with sand, to which he added organic matter like straw, grass, leaves or grains. This core was fixed to a metal rod, then covered with colored molten glass and rolled (marvered) on a flat surface to the desired thickness, reheating as necessary. The decoration was obtained by adding strands of glass in different colors with light blue and yellow worked into zigzags and curled into spirals on the belly. The handle was added on afterwards, as were the mouth and the foot on occasion. After the vase had been left to cool slowly, the clay core was removed.
3. The oenochoe here was purchased in 1969 from Howard Phillips, a London dealer specializing in ancient glass. An article featuring this piece appeared in the 1971 issue of the magazine "Antique Collector." Also see "Antike Glaser". Staatliche Kunstammlunmgen, Kasel, plate 2, number 3.