Docents Return and here is some art.

If you are in the Little Library and notice a few pieces that look like they are some sort of ceramic or enamel then I think you will be surprised to know they are actually glass. 

Peking Glass

While glass had been produced in China from as early as 300 B.C.E. the widely popular “Peking Glass” was actually introduced by a German Jesuit priest in the 17th century.  Having been a relatively unpopular material up until this point, glass would finally receive Imperial patronage under Emperor Kang Xi (1662-1722).  It was during his reign that a German missionary was given the position of supervising the development of an Imperial crafts workshop within the Forbidden City.  By incorporating western techniques into the production of both glass and enamel the workshop achieved great success among the Chinese court.

Originally Peking glass was meant to imitate porcelain.  As it became more of a commodity it began to receive different treatment methods.  These later techniques employed an overlaid system of layers that were partially carved away, creating a cameo effect.  In the 18th century this production style became the standard method of producing glass in China.  Some of the most common objects found using this medium were beaded necklaces and snuff bottles.  This is largely in part because of the commercial value of both of these items, which the Imperial Court was quick to recognize.




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