Artist: Ennion Workshop, probably active in Sidon
Title: “Ennion” Bowl (Roman, mid-1st century ACE, Mold-blown glass and ground rim, 2 9/16 in., Gift of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr. 71.6779)
What do you notice about the texture of the bowl? The color? The shape?
How do you think this bowl was made?
What interests you most about this work of art?
The discovery of blowing glass through a hollow pipe revolutionized glassmaking, enabling glass to be mass produced. This bowl is an example of early mold-blown glass. The bowl was created by making a mold from metal, wood or clay, which had a pattern carved into, or incorporated,/ into its shape. The glassblower would then place molten glass on the end of a long hollow tube and blow to expand the soft glass against the mold's design. Once cooled, the mold was removed. This innovative process allowed the vessel and its ornamentation to be created at the same time.
An inscription was integrated into the original mold of this vessel. Once the glass was blown into and removed from the mold, the following could be easily read along the outside of the bowl: "E N N I O N E P O I E I”, which when translated means “Ennion Made.” Buried for centuries, the bowl eventually weathered and developed an iridescent quality due to a chemical reaction between soil and glass.
Approximately twenty vessels survive from the Ennion workshop, celebrated as examples of early Roman mold-blown glass. Working as a glassmaker around 1 to 50 ACE, it is believed that Ennion hailed from Sidon in what is modern-day Lebanon, where his workshop may have been primarily located. Glassware made by Ennion has also been found in Jerusalem, as well as Greece, Spain and Italy. This is possibly due to trading along the Mediterranean coast. Because Ennion chose to inscribe his name on his work, scholars have been able to connect and compare the quality and skill of this particular workshop. Some scholars have also speculated that Ennion may have studied as a silversmith, adapting skills such as embossing from this trade to use in his mold-blown glass.
How does knowing the name of the artist affect how you view this work of art?
What questions would you ask the Ennion about his work if he were here today?