The small bottle with a piriform body, cylindrical neck, and out-turned rim. The shoulder has a slight indent with an incised line. With a highly iridescent surface in a strong blue colour.
Condition The body is intact with a small repaired chip at the rim and a stress crack in the neck. There is heavy iridescence with some encrustation. There is a Nico Bijnsdorp collection label number 80 on the underside.
Christie's, London, 23 September 1998, lot 389 Nico F. Bijnsdorp Collection, acquired from the above
Such bottles were used for perfumed oils. Iridescence was not an intentional effect in antiquity. It is caused by alkali being leached from the glass by slightly acidic water present in soil. This causes the formation of fine layers that eventually flake off causing a prism effect on light bouncing off and passing through the surface.