This two handled 'Kanthros' type drinking cup is horizontally banded in shades of purple and white and appears at its most exquisite when light passes through it.
The Crawford Cup by Unknown Artist, 1st2nd century AD
© British Museum
- 9.7 x 10.7 cm
- Art Fund grant:
- £2,300 ( Total: £2,300)
- Acquired in:
- A I Loewental
Finding pieces of murra large enough to carve was very difficult and extremely expensive. This cup is made from a relatively rare and valuable mineral, fluorspar, which was prized in Roman times for its banded appearance and the special flavour which it gave to wine drunk from it. In Roman times, the mineral could only be found in Parthia, modern day Iran. According to Pliny, fluorspar vessels were first brought to Rome by Pompey the Great in 62-61 BC after his victories in the East. Fluorspar has been employed in more recent times for ornamental purposes using Derbyshire fluorspar, known as blue John. Few such cups have survived from antiquity. It was presented to the British Museum in commemoration of Lord Crawford's 25 years as Chairman of the Art Fund.
Discovered in a Roman tomb on the Turco-Syrian frontier during the 1st World War, 1919; A.I. Loewental.