Two-handled vessel

Historical period(s)
Dynasty 18, New Kingdom, Reign of Amenhotep III - Akhenaten, ca. 1539-1295 BCE
H x W x D: 14.2 x 6.7 x 6.7 cm (5 9/16 x 2 5/8 x 2 5/8 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art Collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Freer Gallery 20: A Collector’s Eye: Freer in Egypt
Glass, Vessel


Dynasty 18 (ca. 1539 - 1295 BCE), Egypt, New Kingdom (ca. 1539 - 1075 BCE)

To 1909
Giovanni Dattari (circa 1858-1923), Cairo, Egypt, to 1909 [1]

From 1909 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Giovanni Dattari in 1909 [2]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [3]


[1] See S.I. 189, Miscellaneous List, Egyptian Glass, pg. 1, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. This piece is part of a collection of glass that was purchased en bloc and includes 1,388 specimens (for further purchase information, see the folder for F1909.332).

[2] See note 1.

[3] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919
Giovanni Dattari (C.L. Freer source) 1858-1923


This is a superb example of a core-formed glass vessel, a method of producing glass vessels introduced to Egypt from neighboring Syria early in the New Kingdom (ca. 1539-1075 B.C.E.). The vessel was formed by winding threads of molten glass around a core of sand, clay, and mud.  Next the vessel was marvered, or rolled on a hard surface to smooth out the glass. Thin threads of colored glass were wound around the surface and pulled into decorative wavy patterns, then called a pointil across them. The vessel then needed to be marvered again to force the added threads of glass into the body.  Handles were added from separate pieces or pulled out from the main body of the vessel with metal tools.

These small vessels were fashioned as containers for costly perfumed ointments, scented oils, and cosmetics. Comparison with vessels and fragments excavated from royal glass workshops suggests that many of the Freer examples were made during the reigns of the pharaohs Amenhotep III (ca. 1390-1353 B.C.E.) and Amenhotep IV, who changed his name to Akhenaten (ca. 1353-1335 B.C.E.). They may likewise be the products of royal workshops.

Published References
  • John D. Cooney. Catalogue of Egyptian Antiquities in the British Museum. 7 vols., London, 1968-1987. vol. 4.
  • Jean Capart. Documents pour servir a l'etude de l'art egyptien. 2 vols., Paris, 1927 - 1931. vol. 2: pp. 75-76, pl. 81d.
  • Richard Ettinghausen. Ancient Glass in the Freer Gallery of Art. Washington, 1962. p. 9.
  • Birgit Schlick-Nolte. Die Glasgefasse im alten Agypten. Munchner agyptologische Studien, 14 Berlin. p. 92, pl. 7, fig. 7.
Collection Area(s)
Ancient Egyptian Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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