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Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology
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Glass of Four Millennia
18th May to 9th July 2000

The fascination of glass lies in its fragility, its embodiment of light and colour, and its age. It is one of the oldest of human technologies.

This exhibition explores the history of glass, from c.1500BC to the work of present-day engravers.

Over 150 pieces, all from the Ashmolean's collection, are displayed. We see some of the earliest fragments known (from Ancient Mesopotamia) as well as an Art Nouveau vase; there are engraved, moulded, blown and decorated examples, from countries as diverse as China, Egypt, Italy, Syria and England. Such a comprehensive view of this unique material -- a paradoxically fragile liquid -- is breathtaking.

The exhibition, housed in just one room, travels through the ages. Excavated fragments from Egypt and Roman are followed by Early Christian gold decorated items. Glass weights and cut jugs illustrate the skill of the Islamic craftsmen of the 9th century AD. We see rare examples of Venetian Renaissance work from Murano and the clear lead glass of 18th-century England. Finally we reach the very end of the 20th century with the beautiful "Finzi" bowl, engraved by the celebrated father and son, Laurence and Simon Whistler.

The show is mounted to celebrate the publication of the Ashmolean's handbook Glass of Four Millennia, written by the exhibition organiser, Martine Newby. Price £6.95 (£10.95 hardback) plus p&p.

The Cuddesdon Bowl, Anglo Saxon
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Last updated: jcm/6-feb-2002
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