Fine glass treasury vessels

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Fine glass treasury vessels

We have provided information about some of the unique collections in the Shosoin treasury.

In total, the treasury contains six glass vessels.‌‌ ‌‌Glass manufacturing in Japan began before the VIII century. Examples of fragments of glass products are found from the ancient workshop in the southern part of the present Nara prefecture in the area of Asuka. At Asuka site there are also records of the glass manufacturing in the documents of the Shosoin Repository of the VIII century. In ancient times, there were two known ways of making glass. The first is sodalime, when sodium carbonate and limestone i.e. calcium carbonate were added to the universally available silicon, which were all melted together. In the second method, lead that had a higher viscosity replaced calcium.

In addition to them, there are accessories for headdresses made of glass, a large number of beads, a decoration yoraku, other objects of the Buddhist cult, as well as a large number of fragments. In general, the total quantity of items in this group is very large.

Of the six intact vessels mentioned, five are made of soda-lime glass, while the sixth is a twelve-bar platter made of green lead glass (midori ruri jyuni choku-no nagatsuki, Central Repository 72). It is assumed that the first five were made in Sasanion Iran, and the last one – in Tang China.

It is believed that glass vessels got into China via the Great Silk Road, and from there they were delivered to Japan. However, it should be noted that fragile glass vessels should be transported by sea rather than by land. So far this option exists only as a hypothesis, but we should not exclude this new option in the transportation of glass vessels.

You can learn more about the topic in the book-album "Cultural legacy of Central Asia in Japanese Museums" (volume XX) in the series "Cultural Legacy of Uzbekistan in the World Collections".

The main sponsor of the project is the oilfield services company Eriell-Group.

Fine glass treasury vessels
Fine glass treasury vessels
Fine glass treasury vessels