Ancient Glass in the Holy Land Lecture

imageOn behalf of the Friends of the Israel Antiquities Authority it is our pleasure to invite you to: From the Furnace Fire to the Emperor’s Court – Ancient Glass in the Holy Land, a lecture by Yael Gorin-Rosen, Head of the Ancient Glass Department of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

The lecture will be given twice. On Wednesday, March 25th at 7:00 PM at the De Young Museum in San Francisco, and on Sunday, March 29, 2009, at 3:00 PM, at the Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. This lecture is the eighth in the Helen Diller Family Annual Lecture Series: Archaeological Discoveries in Israel.

This fascinating lecture focuses on the production of ancient glass in the Holy Land from large-scale raw-glass industries to the artisan's workshop. The lecture examines the design and use of furnaces, various vessels, oil lamps, and jewelry. It also highlights the fabulous Byzantine gold and opaque glass panel masterpiece from Caesarea that dates to 500-700 A.D., currently on display in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

imageGlass captured the imagination of artisans in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, who used it to fashion minute objects such as pendants, beads and inlays. In the mid-second millennium BCE, small glass containers were first produced as luxury items for the royal courts. These vessels were made in the core-forming technique in a variety of hues – principally deep blue, turquoise, yellow and white – which emulated semi-precious metals. Over the centuries various casting methods, as well as mosaic-glass and gold-glass techniques, were employed. As the demand for glass vessels increased, sophisticated production methods evolved and new forms were introduced. During the Roman period, the invention of glassblowing in the eastern Mediterranean brought about a revolution in glassmaking. The characteristic transparency, delicacy, and subtle colors, as well as many of the forms – wineglasses, bottles, juglets and jars – that were introduced in the Roman period are still the trademarks of glassware today. Recent excavations in Israel have uncovered assemblages which enable regional and chronological classification of types and forms: date and distribution, as well as patterns of trade and fashion can now be fixed with greater accuracy. Glass vessels help date archaeological strata and remains, as their typological changes over the years provide a chronological yardstick in a manner similar to that of pottery vessels and lamps.

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