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Roman Empire
Ennion Workshop, probably active in Sidon, Syria
Bowl, mid-1st century A.D.
Mold-blown glass; ground rim

A revolution in the history of glassmaking occurred around the 1st century B.C., just as the Roman Empire was being formed: the blowpipe. Glass at the end of a hollow pipe could be inflated and shaped in a myriad of forms and sizes never possible before. This most important advance in glassmaking technology meant that glass went from being a precious, difficult-to-produce substance to a great commercial commodity within the vast network of trade routes spanning the Roman Empire.

Shortly after the advent of the blowpipe, glassworkers began using multi-part molds to make glass vessels. Mold-blowing glass was advantageous because the form and decoration of the object could be achieved very quickly and because sizes could be standardized for commercial use. About 20 relatively intact pieces survive from the Ennion workshop.