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Roman glass and lead cinerary urn with container, Circa 1st Century AD

Conservation:  Lead vessel damaged; Glass urn with earthen deposits and repaired.
Material:  Glass and lead
Dimensions:  22 x 18 cm; 27 x 22 cm
Provenance:  Leopoldo Benguerel´s Collection / Archaeological Gallery, Spain, 2014
Exhibited:  Ifergan Collection, Málaga (2018-2020)


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Urn of globular body of blown glass, inserted in a container of lead that molds to its form and that served to protect so fragile material. This type of urn was intended to house the ashes resulting from incineration, and it was from the beginning of II A.D. when this method was replaced by that of burial, having to do with the Christian culture that was progressively penetrating the society of the time. Christianity advocates burial as the main method of burial, since the body of the deceased must be preserved for the “final resurrection of men”.

The history of glass is more than three thousand years old, (II Millennium B.C. in Mesopotamia and Egypt). The first pieces were made from models on sand cores to which ornaments of various kinds were added. This was an expensive method of production and therefore reserved for the social elite of the time until the first century B.C. of blown glass, which caused a real revolution in trade and the introduction of it in the most modest social strata.

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