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Proceedings Paper

Crafting glass vessels: current research on the ancient glass collections in the Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Author(s): Alexander Nagel; Blythe McCarthy; Stacy Bowe
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Paper Abstract

Our knowledge of glass production in ancient Egypt has been well augmented by the publication of recently excavated materials and glass workshops, but also by more recent materials analysis, and experiments of modern glass-makers attempting to reconstruct the production process of thin-walled coreformed glass vessels. From the mounting of a prefabricated core to the final glass product our understanding of this profession has much improved. The small but well preserved glass collection of the Freer Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. is a valid tool for examining and studying the technology and production of ancient Egyptian core formed glass vessels. Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919) acquired most of the material from Giovanni Dattari in Cairo in 1909. Previously the glass had received only limited discussion, suggesting that most of these vessels were produced in the 18th Dynasty in the 15th and 14th centuries BCE, while others date from the Hellenistic period and later. In an ongoing project we conducted computed radiography in conjunction with qualitative x-ray fluorescence analysis on a selected group of vessels to understand further aspects of the ancient production process. This paper will provide an overview of our recent research and present our data-gathering process and preliminary results. How can the examinations of core formed glass vessels in the Freer Gallery contribute to our understanding of ancient glass production and technology? By focusing on new ways of looking at old assumptions using the Freer Gallery glass collections, we hope to increase understanding of the challenges of the production process of core-vessel technology as represented by these vessels.

Paper Details

Date Published: 7 November 2012
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 8422, Integrated Approaches to the Study of Historical Glass, 84220H (7 November 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.974708
Show Author Affiliations
Alexander Nagel, Freer|Sackler - Smithsonian's Museums of Asian Art (United States)
Blythe McCarthy, Freer|Sackler - Smithsonian's Museums of Asian Art (United States)
Stacy Bowe, Freer|Sackler - Smithsonian's Museums of Asian Art (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8422:
Integrated Approaches to the Study of Historical Glass
Hugo Thienpont; Wendy Meulebroeck; Karin Nys; Dirk Vanclooster, Editor(s)

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