Bowl with Blue and White Canes. Unknown. Greek or Roman, 100–1 B.C. Glass, 2 1/16 in. high x 4 in. diam. 2004.24. The J. Paul Getty Trust © J. Paul Getty Trust.

Mosaic glass vessels are among the most colorful ancient containers. They were formed by fusing numerous slices or ribbons (lengths) of cane in molds until they melted together into a swirl of colors, as seen on this blue and white bowl.

Multicolored canes and figural compositions for plaques and beads were made by layering different colors and manipulating them into designs. Roman mosaic glass later inspired Venetian glassmakers to create millefiori (Italian for "thousand flowers").



Lidded Container with Amber and White Marbling. Unknown. Roman, A.D. 1–100. Glass, 2 in. high x 2 1/4 in. diam. 2003.256. The J. Paul Getty Trust © J. Paul Getty Trust.

This pyxis, a lidded cosmetics or jewelry box, is made from marbled glass, a variant of mosaic glass. 

The Roman glassmaker created a swirling pattern (similar to agate) by melting multiple colors of glass together.