Roman artisans created a colorful new technique for blowing glass, 2,000 years ago

Jun 15, 2022 461


These palm-sized wine cups in the New Orleans Museum of Art's collection were crafted during the time of the Roman Empire, sometime around 100 BCE to 100 CE. Roman craftsmen developed new glass techniques, advancing a craft that had been cultivated over thousands of years in Middle Eastern and Egyptian cultures.

Romans invented ways to blow glass on a rod, and developed a technique for the intricate mosaic pattern as shown on these three wine cups. This colorful ornament in green, black, red, white and yellow glass is called “millefiori,” after Italian words for thousand and flowers.

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