Gaming piece Roman or Islamic, Egypt Millefiori glass Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, 1970.3.1045
Because glass-making techniques changed very little over the centuries, glass objects such as this small piece are hard to date. Their pattern is created by a technique called millefiori or "thousand flowers," which dates back to the Roman period. Long rods of colored glass are gathered and fused together. Then the cylinder is cut to reveal a pattern that resembles many tiny flowers. While it is difficult to determine with certainty the various functions of these small objects, they may have been used in a board game like backgammon.
Bibliography: Carboni 2001, 45, cat. no. 1.13a; Carboni and Whitehouse 2001, 147–153; and Jenkins 1986, 52.Return to the Show