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THE [HE art of glass-making, unlike that of pottery, would appear not to have been discovered and practised by different nations independently, but to have gradually spread from a single centre. No trace of it was observed among the inhabitants of America at the time when that continent was discovered, although considerable progress in the arts had been made by some among them, e.g., the Mexicans and Peruvians; but the steps by which it reached China may be indicated with much probability. The credit of the invention was given by the ancients to the. Phoenicians, as is shown by the well-known story of its fortuitous discovery by Phoenician merchants, who rested their cooking pots on blocks of natron (sub-carbonate of soda), and found glass produced by the union under heat of the alkali and the sand of the shore (Pliny, Nat. Hist., xxxvi. 26, 65). A glassy mass may, however, be produced in the smelting of many metallic ores, silica being present, while the fuel supplies the alkali; or by the combustion of great masses of reeds or straw, in which the elements of glass are present,-lumps of coarse imperfect glass being often found on the spot where a stack of wheat has been burned. Now the Egyptians practised metallurgic operations from a very early period, and vast heaps of straw are, and no doubt have been from the earliest times, accumulated in that country, and probably not unfrequently set on fire. The adoption of glass as a substance capable of being made subservient to the use of mankind may therefore be due to the intelligence of some one who noticed its fortuitous production there. Be this as it may, by far the earliest examples of glass existing of which the dates are attested Egyptian by inscriptions are of Egyptian origin. The earliest of these, a small lion's head of opaque blue glass of very fine colour, but changed externally to an olive green, was found at Thebes by Signor Drovetti, and is now in the British Museum; on the underside are hieroglyphics containing the name of Nuantef IV., whose date according to Lepsius's chronology was 2423-2380 B. C. A bead of dusky green. glass bears the prænomen of Hatasu, a queen who is conjectured to have lived about 1450 B.C. (Wilkinson, Manners and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians, vol. iii. p. 88). That such may be the real dates of these objects is confirmed by the fact that glass bottles containing red wine are represented on monuments of the fourth dynasty, more than 4000 years old; and in the tombs at Beni lasan, dating from the reign of Usurtesen I., at least 2000 years RC, the process of glass-blowing is represented in an unmistakable manner (Wilkinson, vol. iii. p. 89). Very many examples of glass found in Egypt may be seen in museums, but, as they rarely bear inscriptions, it would be difficult to trace the progress of the art through them; no competent person has hitherto undertaken the task. The manufacture probably continued to flourish as well during the period of the native monarchy as in that of the Greek dynasty; and its importance after the subjugation of the country to Rome was probably even increased by the new market then opened to its products. Martial (Ep., xxi. 74) alludes to the importation of Egyptian glass into Rome; and it is mentioned in an ordinance of Aurelian. Hadrian in a letter addressed to the consul Servianus men

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tions glass-blowing as one of the chief industrial occupations

lower Diospolis on Lake Mensaleh, as appears by a passage in the Periplus Maris Erythræi (c. 6).

Much of the Egyptian glass was uncoloured and of a somewhat dusky hue; of the coloured and ornamental varieties perhaps the most characteristic examples are the small vases usually in the form of either alabastra or am phora, but occasionally in that of an Egyptian column. In these the prevailing colour is a deep transparent blue; but not unfrequently the colour of the body of the vase is some shade of pale buff, fawn, or white (an imitation probably of arragonite, Egyptian alabaster), sometimes deep green, and in rare cases red. In almost every example the surface is ornamented by bands of colour, white, yellow, or tor quoise blue, forming zigzag lines; in some examples there are only two or three such lines, in others the whole surface is covered by them. These lines are incorporated with the surface of the vessel, but do not penetrate through its entire thickness. By the Greeks and Etruscans such vessels were evidently much valued; the amphora have been occasionally found in tombs, furnished with a stand of gold. In Rhodes and elsewhere they have been found associated with objects which probably do not date from an earlier period than the 3d or 4th century before Christ, and it does not appear that they are met with in tombs later than the Christian era; when coloured or ornamental glass vessels are discovered in these last, they are of a different character. Another species of glass manufacture in which the Egyptians would appear to have been peculiarly skilled is the so-called mosaic glass, formed by the union of rods of various colours in such a manner as to form a pattern; the rod so formed was then reheated and drawn out until reduced to a very small size, a square inch or less, and divided into tablets by being cut transversely, each of these tablets presenting the pattern traversing its substance and This process was no doubt first practised in Egypt, and is never seen in such perfection as in objects of a decidedly Egyptian character in design or in colour. Very beautiful pieces of ornament of an architec tural character are met with, which probably once served as decorations of caskets or other small pieces of furniture, Some of the last-named are represented with such truth of or of trinkets; also tragic masks, human faces, and birds. colouring and delicacy of detail that even the separate feathers of the wings and tail are well distinguished, although, as in an example in the British Museum, a humanheaded hawk, the piece which contains the figure may not exceed three-fourths of an inch in its largest dimension. Works of this description probably belong to the period when Egypt passed under Roman domination, as similar objects, though of inferior delicacy, appear to have been

visible on each face.


made in Rome.

The Phoenicians probably derived their knowledge of the Phonisian
art from Egypt; whether this be so or not, they undoubt
edly practised it from a very early period and to a very
large extent. Probably much the same processes were em-
ployed in Phoenicia and Egypt during some centuries before
the Christian era, as they certainly were in Phoenicia,
Egypt, and Rome for some centuries after. It seems pro-
bable that the earliest products of the industry of Phoenicia
in the art of glass-making are the coloured beads which have
been found in almost all parts of Europe, in India and
other parts of Asia, and in Africa. The "aggry" beads, so
much valued by the Ashantees and other natives of that
part of Africa which lies near the Gold Coast, have pro

of the inhabitants of Alexandria. The manufacture was
not confined to that city, but was also carried on in the
See introduction to Catalogue of Glass Vessels in the South Kenbably the same origin. These coloured beads are usually of
sington Museun, where an engraving of it is given.

opaque glass; they exhibit great variety of colour and


pattern, and very different degrees of skill in manipulation. Their wide dispersion may be referred with much probability to their having been objects of barter between the Phoenician merchants and the barbarous inhabitants of the various countries with which they traded. It is probable, however, that many of the specimens which exist in our museums date from times several centuries later than those in which Tyre and Sidon flourished; for, as we may learn from the Periplus and Strabo, glass in various forms was an article imported in the 1st and 2d centuries, as well into the emporia of the Red Sea as into the ports of Britain. Even at the present day beads are very extensively made at Venice for export to Africa, which bear a resemblance, doubtless not accidental, to those which we have reason to believe to be of very early date.

Next in date to the earlier Egyptian examples mentioned above would appear to be the vase of transparent greenish glass found in the north-west palace of Nineveh, and now in the British Museum. On one side of this a lion is engraved, and also a line of cuneiform characters, in which is the name of Sargon, king of Assyria, 722 B.C. Frag ments of coloured glasses were also found there, but our materials are too scanty to enable us to form any decided opinion as to the degree of perfection to which the art was carried in Assyria. Many of the specimens discovered by Layard at Nineveh have all the appearance of being Roman, and were no doubt derived from the Roman colony, Niniva Claudiopolis, which occupied the same site. Greek.. The Greeks, excellent in the ceramic art, do not appear to have cultivated the art of glass-making at a very early period; but it was probably made in many places on the shores of the Mediterranean for some centuries before the Christian era. At Mycenae many disks of opaque vitreous pastes were found by Schliemann, and very similar objects at Ialyssus in Rhodes; but it is not certain that these may not have been brought from Egypt, where very similar objects have been found, or whether they ought not to be attributed to Greek or to Phoenician artisans. At Camirus in Rhodes, however, many vessels of glass of very elegant forms have been discovered, which were probably made in the island.

In Etruscan tombs in Italy are also found glass vessels of peculiar character; these are small bowls resembling in form the half of an egg; they are usually of the variety of glass which is mentioned further on as "madrepore," the ground green and transparent, the stars yellow, while patches of colour of gold and of filigree glass are sometimes interspersed. They differ from and appear to be earlier than the madrepore glass, fragments of which are so often found in Rome. They are also said to be found in Magna Græcia. Another variety found in tombs in the same district is of blue and opaque glass, with much gold in leaf, all twisted together; the most frequent form in which this kind of glass has been found is that of a bottle several inches long and about one inch in diameter, without a neck, having probably had a mounting of gold. It remains to be determined whether these should be attributed to a Greek or to a Phoenician origin. Glass, however, was occasionally used for purposes of architectural decoration during the best period of Grecian art, for Stuart and Revett, when describing the temple of Minerva Polias at Athens, give the following note:-- "A remarkable singularity observed in the capitals of this portico is in the plaited torus between the volutes having been inlaid at the interstices with coloured stones or glass." Mr H. March Phillips states that he well remembers having remarked these decorations, and that he believes them to be of blue glass.1

1 An example of the employment of glass in a like manner is indicated by the odd story which Pliny tells (Nat. Hist., xxxvii. 5, 17) that on the tomb of Hermias, a prince of the island of Cyprus,

In the first centuries of our era the art of glass-making Roma was developed at Rome and other cities under Roman rule in a most remarkable manner, and it reached a point of excellence which in some respects has never been excelled or even perhaps equalled. It may appear a somewhat exaggerated assertion that glass was used for more purposes, and in one sense more extensively, by the Romans of the imperial period than by ourselves in the present day; but it is one which can be borne out by evidence. It is true that the use of glass for windows was only gradually extending itself at the time when Roman civilization sank under the torrent of German and Hunnish barbarism, and that its employment for optical instruments was only known in a rudimentary stage; but for domestic purposes, for architectural decoration, and for personal ornaments glass was unquestionably much more used than at the present day. It must be remembered that the Romans possessed no fine porcelain decorated with lively colours and a beautiful glaze; Samian ware was the most decorative kind of pottery which was then made. Coloured and ornamental glass held among them much the same place for table services, vessels for toilet use, and the like, as that held among us by porcelain. Pliny (Nat. Hist., xxxvi. 26, 67) tells us that for drinking vessels it was even preferred to gold and silver. Trebellius Pollio, however, relates of the emperor Gallienus that he drank from golden cups, despising glass, than which, he said, nothing was more vulgar. Glass was largely used in pavements, and in thin plates as a coating for walls. It was used in windows, though by no means exclusively, mica, alabaster, and shells having been also employed. Glass, in flat pieces, such as might be employed for windows, has been found in the ruins of Roman houses, both in England and in Italy, and in the house of the faun at Pompeii a small pane in a bronze frame remains. Glass of this description seems to have been cast on a stone, and is usually very uneven and full of defects; although capable of transmitting light, it must have given at best an indifferent view of external objects. When the window openings were large, as was the case in basilicas and other public buildings and even in houses, the pieces of glass were, doubtless, fixed in pierced slabs of marble or in frames of wood or bronze.

The invention and ingenuity employed by the Roman artisans in producing variety in glass vessels are most remarkable; almost every means of decoration appears to have been tried, and many methods of manipulating glass, which have been considered inventions, have in reality been anticipated by the glass-workers of the period under consideration. The fertility of invention which devised so many modes of ornamentation and so many shades of colour, and the skill with which the manual execution is carried out, alike deserve great admiration. This prodigious variety seems to show that glass-making was at that time carried on, not as now in large establishments, which produce great quantities of articles identical in form and pattern, but by many artificers, each working on a small scale. This circumstance enables us to understand why very pure and crystalline glass was, as Pliny tells us, more valued than any other kind. To produce glass very pure and free from striæ and bubbles, long-continued fusion is required; this the system of working of the ancients did not allow, and their glass is in consequence remarkable for the great abundance of bubbles and defects which it contains.

was a marble figure of a lion with eyes of emerald which shone so brightly into the sea that they frightened away the tunnies from the adjacent fisheries, so that it became necessary to change the eyes. In the great marble lion discovered by Mr Newton near Cnidus, and now in the British Museum, in the place of the eyes are deep sockets which probably, like those of the Cypriote lion, were filled with coloured glass.

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