In the past and in later times, pepper was the symbol of the entire spice trade. Venice, Genoa and southern German trading cities owed much of their wealth to it. In the Middle Ages the pepper toll was developed and in the 14th/15th century it was used as a means of payment in the event of a shortage of money. Rent, dowry, taxes and the like were paid with pepper, which was very expensive.
The glass of this rare vase has an anthracite/topaçal colour and is a reference to the gemstone 'topaz'. This colour is created by, among other things, adding certain metal oxides to the sillicate mixture. The decor of pepper bunches is shaded with zinc white oxide and heated in the kiln. This causes the colour to adhere to the surface. The same process is also applied to stained-glass windows.