Early glass

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Archaeologists have found glass beads and vessels in China from other parts of the world such as the eastern Mediterranean under the Roman Empire, and what is now Syria and Iran. These finds prove that glass from other countries reached China along trade routes.

Glass was also made in China, from at least the time of the Warring States period (481-221 BC). The glass bead with circles and dots is a striking early example of Chinese glass.

Archaeologists have found glass objects buried in tombs and Buddhist temples. This shows that Chinese people valued glass as a material. However glass grave goods were also made in China as substitutes for jade, like the circular disc and cicada plaques here.

Click on the images to find out more about them.