ritual vessel


Roman Glass Trulla, 1st Century AD

This high quality trulla, or “pan,” of transparent pale blue glass, is in the form of a deep cup or bowl with an applied handle that tapers from the body of the vessel. Vessels of this shape usually date between 50 and 150 AD and numerous examples have been found in Pompeii along with their metal counterparts. One example, in glass and decorated in cameo, was found at the House of the Tragic Poet.  Later examples, coming mostly from the western Roman provinces like Belgium, are decorated with “snake thread” trailing. Trullae were often used as either ritual objects for libations or as drinking vessels and are sometimes referred to as paterae.

rhyton in the shape of a bull’s head, 16th C. BC, Mycenae

National Archaeological Museum, Athens

A rhyton was a ritual vessel from which liquid was drunk or poured in libation. They were used in a number of ancient cultures, and could range from simple pottery vessels to more ornate examples. This Mycenaean example is fashioned from bronze, gold, and silver.