Glass & Glass-Making
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At all times silica has been derived from solid
quartz, either in the form of rock-crystal, or of white pebbles from the
beds of rivers, and more frequently from sand obtained from the seashore,
or by excavation.
GLASS EGYPTIAN BEADS
Twelfth dynasty--about 2,000 years
Soda was obtained by the Mediterranean people from
the ashes of certain plants growing in salt marshes, or from seaweed. Inland
people got their alkali by dissolving with lye the ashes of various trees
and plants. In Germany and Bohemia this potash was obtained from
beechwood; in France, from the
bracken fern. The quality of the glass depended upon
the preparation of this soda, or potash.
In all cases there is need of a second base; and
this, generally speaking, is lime, or oxide of lead. The soda family
embraces the beautiful glass of the Romans and of Mediterranean countries;
the enameled ware of the Saracens; and all the artistic productions of the
Renaissance, including the Venetian, or Murano, glass. The potash family
includes the German, Bohemian and French "forest
glass." English flint glass, in which oxide of lead was used with the
potash instead of lime, also belongs to the potash group.
Egypt was famous for its glass. Ruins of
glass-works of the highest antiquity have been found near the
Lakes of Nitre in the desert, where the priests
of Ptah produced imitations of jewels brought from India,
besides making every kind of glass article. Museums are full of bottles,
ewers, scarabei (sacred beetles),
mystic eyes, beads and fragments that show how ancient
was the art and how varied the uses of glass. Beads and the little bottles
or vases in which the fair women of Egypt kept
their cosmetics, unguents, scents, and kohl for
darkening their eyes, are the most characteristics products of the best
period of Egyptian glass-making.
GLASS EGYPTIAN VASES
Regarding color, the Egyptians preferred blue.
The scale ran from blue-black to the palest turquoise; but the favorite
was the "Nile blue." Next to blue, came yellow:
mustard and pale buff were the best-loved tints. Yellow