Art History PERIOD 1
Mr. Bayliss
Ancient
Glass-working
___
By Morgan Drohan

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INTRODUCTION


Glass-working was discovered as a glaze in Mesopotamia in about 3500 BCE. Glasses was originally used as a ritual material but over time it has become the tableware and containers that we know and love. The first object that was made completely of glass was made about a thousand years later.

Glass Making Techniques


Core forming, casting, fusing, blowing, stain glass making, and enameling are all glass making techniques. For core forming, there is a ceramic-like material that hot glass is wound around and then a handle is added on. For casting, there is a mold that hot glass is poured into. For fusing, pieces of glass are arranged and glued together then heated up in a kiln so that they stick together. Fusing can be used to make mosaic glass; this is done by fusing glass rods together until their colors swirl. For blowing glass, there is a tube with heated glass at the end that you blow into and the glass expands. There are two types of glass blowing, the types are free-blown glass and mold-blown glass. In free-blown glass, the glass is blown in open air without a mold and mold-blown glass is blown into a mold. The molds for mold-blown glass are typically made of graphite because it does not burn and it cools down the glass. The artist can decorate free-blown glass by pressing, pulling, pinching, and applying trails. Applying trails means adding more glass typically glass rods. It can also be decorated by painting, but you can do the same to mold-blown glass once it is out of its mold. Stain glass is made by cutting glass, arranging the pieces into a design, then putting copper foil, which is sort of like tape, around each piece of glass, after that you apply flux to the copper, like you are painting it on, so that the solder will stick the pieces together, and then use metal to solder the pieces together. For enameling, glass powder is applied to metal with a special kind of glue called Klyr-Fire, which is a water-based adhesive, and put into a kiln in order to fuse the glass and metal together.

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Splash-ware


Splash-ware is a special kind of decorated glassware. In order to make splash-ware, one must roll a piece of glass across glass chips and then reheat the piece of glass until the chips melt into the original glass piece then the piece can be stretched or inflated in order to make it look like it was splashed with color. Splash-ware can also be created by putting the chips on glaze. This splash-ware jar is considered Earthenware and it is from 10th century Iran, but certain aspects were influences by Iraqi ceramics and 9th century Tang Dynasty Chinese ceramics. The pure white glaze is a characteristic of Tang ceramics. China, Iran and Central Asia all shared the green splashed decoration technique. The characteristic of Iraqi ceramics that this piece has is the raised ridge around the base.

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Roman Cage Cup

Diatreta means “reticulated cup” is the style commonly known as cage cups. Cage cups were a luxury roman glass piece from around the fourth century. They were made in specialized shops in places such as the Rhineland-Danubian area in Germany, Northern Italy, Albania, the Dalmatian coast and it was also made in the east. Albania and the Dalmatian coast are referred to as Illyria. The cage cups are considered “the pinnacle of Roman achievements in glass-making” and they were owned by the most privileged members of Roman society. There are only fifty cage cups in the world and most of them are broken because if one mesh of the cage was broken they would have to scrap it. The Trivulzio Cage Cup is the only cage cup with no damage at all, other cage cups that are in good condition include the Cologne cup and the Munich Cup. These cups have an inner cup and an outer cage which is connected to the inner cup with small glass stems or shanks. These cups are made by putting hot glass into a cup then putting in a perforated cup, that is made of plaster of paris or a mixture of quartz pieces and plaster, into the cup of hot glass then add more hot glass and press it down with a double-shelled blank. After the glass in the cups cools down, you can take it out of the the first cup and cut the glass with little loss of the glass and the perforated cup will break apart and come out easily. Cage cups that have human or animal figures on them are made a little differently because the figures are applied afterwards. Sturdier cage cups were made later on because thick-walled blanks were used. The cage cups that were not made with thick-walled blanks do not have grinding marks on their inner cup. The cup says “Bibe multis annis” which is short for “Bibe vivas multis annis” and that means “Drink and you will live for many years” this suggests that it was used for drinking wine and it was likely for the imperial court or cult ceremonies. Even though the inscription suggests that they would be used for drinking, there is one in the Corning Museum of Glass that people think may have been used at a hanging lamp.

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Mamluk Glass Oil Lamps