Silk Road Collection

Millefiori Patella Cup and Plate (2pcs.)

  • Eastern Mediterranean
  • 1st century BC -1st century AD
  • glass
  • H4.4cm φ9.2cm

This is a glass plate and cup made by laying mosaic fragments with floral and swirly designs on a mold and fusing them together. Because the design looks like countless flowers in full bloom, it is called millefiori (“thousand flowers” in Italian) glass. Because several mosaic glass plates and cups with the same design remain, it is thought that these were part of a set made for banquets, and this set would have been used to grace the luxurious banquet tables of ancient Rome. (There is also a theory that mosaic glass was laid out to make a welded glass plate, which was then heated and formed to create these pieces.)