The Wint Hill Bowl
Roman, light greenish glass, 19 cm diameter, 5 cm deep. AN1957.186.
The bowl is believed to have been made at Cologne about the middle of the 4th century AD, but was found in 1956 in excavations at a Roman site at Wint Hill, Somerset. Such clear glass vessels were made as cheaper substitutes for rock crystal. This example is engraved on the outer surface, but was intended to be viewed from the inside: a horseman and two hounds drive a hare into a net. Around the edge is inscribed VIVASCVMTVISPIEZ in Latin characters and the Greek Π ΙΕ ZHCHC, meaning ‘Long life to you; drink, and good health'. Presumably it was intended as a drinking vessel. The decoration links it to other examples with hunting, mythological and Christian scenes whose distribution is centred in the Rhineland. Purchased with the aid of the National Art-Collections Fund, 1957.
Rome (Gallery 13), Ground Floor, Case A118