[Copyright © Smithsonian Institution BOTTLE ca. 100-200 C.E., Roman period, Glass, H: 8.5 W: 4.2 D: 2.2 cm, Gift of Charles Lang Freer F1909.422.]
If the pattern on this glass bottle makes your mind wonder a bit to any of the agate or semi-precious stones that have been all around us of late, that's sort of what the ancient artisan had in mind.
[Susanna Galanis history-inspired necklaces spotted at G. Gilbert in Atlanta. Visit Taigan for details.]
As the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art explains, the idea was to recreate in glass the colors and appearance of ancient Egypt's most sought after stones, such as turquoise and lapis lazuli. The circa 100-200 C.E. vessel shown at top is from the Freer Collection and was originally acquired by Charles Lang Freer (19th-century American industrialist, serious art enthusiast, and major fan of luminous blues and blue-greens) during his travels.
[Copyright © Smithsonian Institution, VESSEL, ca. 1539-1295 B.C.E., New Kingdom Dynasty 18, Glass, H: 9.2 W: 5.7 D: 5.7 cm, Egypt, Gift of Charles Lang Freer F1909.412.]
A few months ago, Linda Stevens, blogger for Smithsonian Journeys, wrote about Freer's trips to Egypt between 1906 and 1909. She notes that he purchased "nearly 1400 glass objects, including vessels, beads, inlays, and fragments, ranging in date from the New Kingdom (1550 – 1070 B.C.E.) to the Roman period (30 B.C.E. – 395 C.E.)." So his finds now comprise the Freer Gallery of Art's Egyptian Collection, but specifically the vessels made during Dynasty 18 (ca. 1539–1295 B.C.E.) are world-famous examples of outstanding Egyptian glass. If you find yourself in Washington, D.C. this summer, take a look.
[Angkor Cambodia, Angkor period, 13th century, Bronze, H x W x D: 79.5 x 25 x 16.5 cm, ELS2010.3.19, Image Credit: National Museum of Cambodia, Phnom Penh.]
Opening May 15 at the Smithsonian's Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, an exhibition of bronzes ranging from the prehistoric period to the post-Angkorian period: Gods of Angkor: Bronzes from the National Museum of Cambodia.
necklace? Not spotted down the street at a boutique. The faience beads are Egyptian, New Kingdom, Dynasty 18, from the collection of the Met.
[Last image via the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Necklace, Edward S. Harkness gift, 1926.]
Related past posts: Just Because It's Interesting, The Blues, and Terre Melee.
Related reading: NY Times: Archaeologists Discover an Ancient Egyptian Glass Factory.