The Roman House at Hopkins | Everyday Dining: Glass Vessels

Pan or Trulla

By Nicole Berlin

Accession Number: JHAM HT 228
Measurements: Width: 14.1cm, Height: 6.1cm
Material: Glass
Culture/Date: Roman, 1st c. CE
Provenance: Likely Southern Italy (Campania)

This colorless glass dish has convex sides flaring out to a flat lip and sits on a short, tubular ring base with two “grip” handles. Each handle was applied as a trail of glass then tooled to form ribbing.

This transparent pale blue glass trulla, or “pan,” is in the form of a deep cup or bowl with an applied handle that tapers from the body of the vessel. On the broad side, where it attaches to the rim, there are two small, pinched projections. In other fully preserved examples, the handle tapers in at the middle then widens at the end. Vessels of this shape usually date between 50 and 150 CE 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.

View of the interior. JHAM HT 228

Isings form 75. Cf. Corning Museum 66.1.224, Louvre LP 2180 N 5196, and Louvre MNE 130.
For a 3rd century CE glass trulla with snake-thread decoration see Harden et. al., Glass of the Caesars, number 58.