Selected and rare materials, excerpts and observations from ancient, medieval and contemporary authors, travelers and researchers about Cyprus.
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The flowers and foliage in this case also are mostly freely treated, and it is evident that both the vase and the plate of glass are works of artists of the first class. The high standard to which the decorative arts of Cyprus attained during the early Greek period is shewn in these two relics in a very clear and forcible manner. We may, indeed, picture to ourselves without difficulty the great variety of subjects and styles which the ancient Cypriotes adorned, when examples so beautiful as those at present before us, although they are but few in comparison to the hundreds which must have paid the penalty of their fragility, have survived to point to the refined civilisation of five-and-twenty buried centuries. Among other forms and uses to which glass appears to have been applied in ancient times in the island of Cyprus are finger-rings1 of exactlythe shape which occurs in ivory. One or two instances of this category exhibit hollows, in which engraved gems of glass or other material have beeninserted and attached by cement. One of these rings bears an inscription perhaps in a Cypriote character (fig. 175). .These rings were used for the same purpose as those in ivory. Hairpins of glass (fig. 176), furnished with disks at one extremity of each, and a ring-handle at the other end of each example, occur with frequency. They show the spiral lines of coloured glass, which we associate, perhaps too strictly, with Phœnician

1 See fig. 91, p. 81.

workmanship. They may be compared with the shapes of bronze (fig. 177), and ivory (fig. 178) hairpins which I have placed here in juxta-position to them.Some of the vases and small bottles having dark violet, or blue, bodies are enriched with fine lines of white opaque glass wound spirally about them in a very elegant manner, and ending in heads of serpents of the same material. Others of the bottles of smaller sizes are moulded like the fruit of the date tree, and their colour is of dark maroon, as if to indicate the natural colour of the fruit. A numerous and very interesting group of these relics consists of small amphorǽ of dark bodies enriched with pale orange and other coloured chevrons, and rings of semi-opaque glass. There can be no doubt, writes Dr. Birch, that the Phœnicians exercised, if they did not discover, the art of glass-making at a very early period. According to the legends, Phœnician traders, on their return from Egypt to their Syrian homes with a cargo of natron or soda, while cooking on the sand under the shadow of Mount Carmel, accidentally produced glass, and thus discovered the art. The district of Tyre, and, at a later period, that of Sidon, subsequentlybecome central sites of glass manufacture; and, indeed, specimens of Phœnician glass, both transparent and opaque, have been discovered on theseancient sites. This material became a staple product of their commerce, and small glass vases, of which fig. 179 in this collection is a goodexample, resembling Egyptian types, of a pale or· dark blue, or white colours, with undulating or zigzag lines white, yellow or light blue, which do not pass entirely through the substance, moulded in sand matrices, were exported by the makers to Asia Minor, Cyprus, Greece, the Isles of the Ǽgean and Adriatic Seas, and even to Etruria, the Mediterranean shores, and, in fact, wherever these enterprising traders penetrated in the ancient world. They were highly valued, sometimes mounted on gold stands. Their use appears to date from the fourth century b.c. to the commencement of our era. The above figure represents in half-size a bottle of dark blue ground with yellow dancettée bands and lines. I found these, and many similar vases, always in tombs containing alabaster vases of closely-allied forms, but never in connection with terra-cottas, coins, or other glass vessels. The same remark applies to those primitive glass vessels which Dr. Birch1

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