[SCA-AS] Links: Medieval Glass;

Lis liontamr at ptd.net
Tue Dec 23 00:08:43 CST 2003

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

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

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
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

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

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

(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

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.
A wooden chest used for mixing the glassmaking mixture.
Smaller alboli.
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

The sweat of hard work is not to be displayed. It is much more graceful to
appear to be favored by the gods.  ---Maxine Hong Kingston, The Woman

Some hae meat and canna eat,
  And some would eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
  Sae let the Lord be thankit.
------Robert Burns, Blessing Before Meat

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