Date: Tue, 23 Dec 2003 00:08:43 -0500
Subject: [SCA-AS] Links: Medieval Glass;

Greetings Gentle Readers

This week's Links list focuses on GLASS--not stained glass, but rather utility glass, those objects and vessels that were in constant use in the Middle Ages no matter where your cultural interest lies. Curiously, we don't see a lot of glass in re-enactments and SCA events, which is a grave omission in my humble opinion. Glass-making at a fairly sophisticated level existed in nearly every civilization throughout our period of study, and Glass objects are commonly found amongst other archaeologically found leavings in all of those cultures. Historical Glass objects are a thing of beauty to be admired and used. Below you will find twenty-odd links on the subject.

Please forward this list wherever it will find an interested audience, and use it to update your own WebPages.

Have a wonderful and happy holiday season. May your days be merry and bright!

Wæs Hæil


Dame Aoife Fin of Ynos Mon

Early Medieval Glass
(Site Excerpt: Examples of artifacts in photographs and descriptions from a seller of antiquities) MINIATURE GLASS PITCHER VII-X cent. A.D. Clear, colorless glass. Spherical body with high conical neck; bolster-shape rim; concave bottom. Top part of attached handle is open to interior. Neck restored. Height 2" (5.2 cm).

Roman, Byzantine and Early Medieval Glass (Book for Sale)
(Site Excerpt) With the instincts of a true connoisseur, Ernest Wolf built a remarkably comprehensive collection of Roman, Byzantine, and early Medieval glasswork that is published here for the first time. Together these objects trace the formation of the great Roman glass industry and follow its development through the early Middle Ages. Written in clear, non-technical language, and readily accessible to the non-specialist, Roman, Byzantine and
Early Medieval Glass consists of five chapters...

Medieval Glass (List of Links)

Regia Anglorum: Glass and Amber
(Site Excerpt) Glass was used in a number of ways by the Saxons and Vikings; for drinking vessels, window glass, jewelery, enameling and beads.A graphic of some of the more common bead styles Remains of glass making furnaces have been found in York and Glastonbury. There is further evidence for glass making in Kent, Jarrow, Barking Abbey, Gloucester and Lincoln, and Bede documents glass making in England.

Glassmaking in Antiquity
by: Susan Hampton
(Site Excerpt) In ancient times molten glass was kept in a liquid state using a wood-burning furnace. It takes a lot of wood to heat a furnace over 1000 degrees. We don't have any specific details from Roman times, but Pam Rossmen from the Jamestown glasshouse gave a comparison from 1608 A.D. It would take enough wood to build a two story house to heat the furnace for just one run of glass. Imagining how much glass was being made through out the empire and it is easy to see how the natural wood supplies would become exhausted quickly. This forced the glassmakers to move to other districts once they had exhausted the wood in the surrounding forest. Glass making was not an environmentally friendly process.

The History of Glass in the Lusatian Mountain Region
By Jaroslav Rez (in cooperation with Michal Gelnar
(Site Excerpt) The tradition of glass making in the Lusatian Mountains is more than seven hundred years old. During its long history there were several periods when this quiet region in the north of Bohemia went down in the world history of this extraordinary craft. More serious and intensive research into the history of glass making in this region has been made from the early 1960's by Václav Sacher from the Museum of Glass in Nový Bor. His activities were followed by young and middle-aged generations of researchers.

Celtic Glass
(Site Excerpt) Most glass artifacts dating to the Celtic La Téne period were core formed or rod formed. Core formed objects were made by molding molten glass around a removable core or center. This core usually consisted of a combination of dung and clay mixed with water, so that it may be shaped and attached to some type of metal rod. The core was then covered with glass and shaped in a kiln using the metal rod and other tools. Patterns and colors were added to the artifact using the rod forming method or a variation thereof. This method was most commonly used in the production of glass beads.

Books on Glass (Incl Islamic)
Use the search feature to search for titles, which appear with descriptions and ISBN.

Medieval glass vessels

Cyprus - Byzantine Glass Lamp
(Site Excerpt) Ecclesiastical objects such as lamps and ritual vessels. This example: Glass lamp, from the church of Panagia Kanakaria at Lythrangom. Diameter 8.7 cm. Height 12.8 cm. 12th century A.D.

History of Murano Glass
by Michele Zampedri
(Site Excerpt) It is presumed that later the technique was refined in Venice more than any where else in Europe because of the trading contacts that the Venetians had with the Orient and above all with countries that already had an ancient tradition in glass blowing such as the Fenici, the Syrians and the Egyptians. Such traditions, renewed in the celebrated furnaces of Islam, were an occasion to reconstruct both Western and Oriental knowledge and techniques there by giving the Venetian production a particularness that made their glass so important throughout the world over the course of centuries.

British Museum
Medieval and Roman Enamels Compared
(Site Excerpt--very brief chemical analysis) Medieval window glass could not have been used to make the enamels. However, if we compare a Roman blue enamel with a medieval one we find that they are very close: The Roman glasses are also made opaque by particles rich in antimony, just like the medieval enamels. It looks as if Roman glass was used to make twelfth century medieval enamels.

The BUFAU Post-Medieval Glass Archive
(Site Excerpt) This site aims to provide online access to two research reports examining the glass finds recovered from excavations undertaken in the Bull Ring area of Birmingham, Banbury and Lichfield. The first report focuses on the finds from the Bull Ring excavations. A considerable proportion of the finds in this case were bottles and, therefore, bottles formed the basis of post-excavation work in preparation for the production of this report. The report highlights how the assemblage was dated by using an analysis of the technology used to manufacture the bottles.

(Site Excerpt---poor translation but excellent information) During the Middle Ages in Bulgarian State the progress of material culture and trades are developed by production and exchange between neighboring countries. The glass is used for decoration of palaces, monasteries and churches but also for ordinary a mode of people life: the cult of religion, the rituals, funerals, ect. The most of artifacts have been discovered by archeological excavations. This information can be seen in the Bulgaria map, with medieval necropolis and villages from XI-th c. to XII-th c. A.D. In the region of South East Bulgaria a huge number of this kind historical monuments has been found. Between them the most popular are the necropolis by village Lubenovo, Kovachevo, Stambolovo, etc. The Byzantine glass bracelets different by color and shape are found. Some of them are black, blue and green with diverse

Reconstructing processes and facilities of production: a late medieval glasshouse in the Schonbuch Forest. (Read entire article with a 7 day free trial of the news service)

(Site Excerpt with apologies for the huge URL) Since 1992, survey and excavation of a glasshouse site close to the former Cistercian monastery of Bebenhausen (Kreis Altdorf, Baden-Wurttemberg) have been under way. The remains are extraordinarily well preserved, allowing detailed reconstruction of processes and facilities of production on the site.

The Glass of the Sultans
Metropolitan Museum of Art
(Site Excerpt) Glass of the Sultans is the first museum survey of rare Islamic glass, and contains nearly 160 objects (on loan from 20
institutions) from various regions in the Islamic world, including Egypt, Syria, Syro-Palestine, Iran, Iraq, and Central Asia, dating from the 7th to 14th Century, as well as later works from Persia, India, and Europe in the Islamic style. The range of material is thus wide-including a vast array of shapes, styles and colors--unexpectedly so for those of us uninitiated to the variety of techniques in glassmaking.

Glass Apothecary Vials (Glass Museum)
by Walt Rigling photos by Ron Saylor
(Site Excerpt) Glass Footed Vials of the 15th to 18th Centuries: There was a long pause in production of apothecary's vials during the "dark ages" and through medieval times. The small glass medicinal vial re-emerged in relative quantity particularly around Germany and the Baltic regions during the "Renaissance" period. Through the 15th to 18th centuries we find the crude yet charming "footed" vials seen here and at the top of this page. They average from 8 to 10cm in height. The term "footed" refers to the small disc of glass applied to the base of these bottles, as you can see in the photograph later in this article.

Joseph Wright's Glossary of Glass
(Site Excerpt) ALATI Glasses or goblets with lateral glass "wings" attached to the sides above the handles for decorative purposes. Known in Germany as Flügelglaser, these were manufactured during the 16th and 17th centuries.
ALBÓL or ALBUÓL A wooden chest used for mixing the glassmaking mixture.
ALBOLÉTI Smaller alboli.
ALLA PRIMA Muranese term which indicates the completion of an object (a flower, an animal, etc.) in a continuous manner which does not require successive applications of parts in glass, or successive reheating. This mode is also used when the object is small and a careful execution is not necessary.

Some Glass Facts
(Site Excerpt) The revolutionary discovery that glass could be blown and expanded to any shape was made in the third quarter of the 1st century BC, in the Middle East along the Phoenician coast. Glassblowing soon spread and became the standard way of shaping glass vessels until the 19th century. The necessary tool is a hollow iron pipe about 1.2 m (4 ft) long with a mouthpiece at one end. The glassblower, or gaffer, collects a small amount of molten glass, called a gather, on the end of the blowpipe and rolls it against a paddle or metal plate to shape its exterior (marvering) and to cool it slightly. The gaffer then blows into the pipe, expanding the gather into a bubble, or parison.

Islamic Art: Early Medieval Art
Several examples of glass shown amongst other artifacts.

Viking Answer Lady: Viking Drinking Traditions (with 6 glass vessels shown as example)

Catalogs of Ancient through Renaissance Glass