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d’archéologie orientale - Le Caire

Verre byzantin et islamiqueByzantine and Islamic Glass

Maria Mossakowska-Gaubert

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Byzantine Glass Mosaic Tesserae: Some Material Considerations
Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies 30/1
Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, 2006, p. 29-47

[401, 1300]
• Question with regard how widely glass mosaics might have been employed (both space and time) in the Byzantine World.

• Deals with the issue of the manufacture of glass during the Roman, Late Roman and Medieval periods in the Eastern Mediterranean:

• Limited evidence for the making of glass tessarae:
– Sardes ?
– Jerash (Gerasa),
– Petra,
– Beth Shean.

• Problem in making colour glass tesserae:
– easy enough to produce: pale transparent blues and greens;
– more complex to produce: opaque colours (yellow, green, dark blue, dark red);
– the heat of the furnace, the base composition of the glass, the temperature reached in the furnace and the duration of that temperature were all additional factors affecting the colour of the finished product;
– manufacturing of glass tesserae: from raw or second-hand glass; glass alrady coloured (easier) or couloured during the melting-down process (more difficult).

• Chemical analyses of Byzantine mosaic tesserae: specific study of tesserae from Shikmona (5th century), San Vitale in Ravenna (6th century), San Vincenzo al Volturno (9th century), Hosios Loukas (10th century), Daphni (11th century), San Marco in Venice (11th-13th centuries), Santa Maria in Aracoeli in Rome (13th century):
– tesserae match the production patterns apparent in vessel glass;
– glass for mosaics was made on one site and exported to other sites to be worked;
– glass was a contemporary product in each case;
– at each site the chemical fingerprints of the glass indicated a single source for each group of tesserae;
– nature of opacifiers added to glass to make it more opaque changes over time.
– there is no evidence to suggest that the makers of Byzantine mosaic glass employed Roman tesserae as colorants.

• Trading and pricing of glass tesserae:
– exemple of tresserae trade according to the written sources: question with regard about the credibility of Muslim sources:
- mosaic cubes and workmen exported from Byzantium for the decoration of the Great Mosque in Damascus and the mosque at Medina (8th century),
- tesserae from Byzantium send to add the mosaics to the Great Mosque in Córdoba,
- me rchants selling tesserae in Kiev (11th century).
– no information in the written sources about the the cost of the transportation of the mosaic glass;
– some calculations of the weight and the cost of gold glass tesserae (according to Mundell Mango, Cutler, Nesbitt, Verità).
Albanie Albania Durrës consommation
Byzance Byzantium Constantinople consommation
Chypre Cyprus Kiti consommation
Livadia consommation
Lythrankomi consommation
Grèce Greece Athènes Athens consommation
Corinthe Corinth consommation
Amphipolis consommation
Daphni consommation
Hosios Loukas consommation
Nea Moni consommation
Philippi consommation
Crète Crete Knossos consommation
Israël Israel Bet Sheʾan (Nysa - Scythopolis) production
Khirbet el-Karak consommation
Shikmona consommation
Italie Italy Ravenne Ravenna consommation
Venise Venice consommation
Rome consommation
Salerno consommation
San Vincenzo al Volturno consommation
Jordanie Jordan Jerash production
Petra production
Palestine Palestine Mt Gerizim consommation
Turquie Turkey Colonée Koloneia consommation
Qartmin Kartmin consommation
Sardes Sardis consommation production
Trabzon Trebizond consommation
Anazarbus consommation
Aşağı Akçale consommation
Corycus consommation
Dağ Pazarı consommation
Dereağzı consommation
Hisarköy (Amorium) consommation
Meryemlık consommation
Yemişküm consommation
Çiftlik consommation

Version 5, données dudata date 30 janvier 2013January 30th 2013