Glass-making techniques

Craftsmen in China used various techniques to make and decorate glass.

Chinese glass was generally made from silica (quartz sand), lead barium and a stabiliser which made the glass water-resistant. The ingredients were heated together at high temperatures until they melted. During the summer, the Imperial glass workshops in Beijing had to close down, as the hot weather and heat from the furnaces made it too hot to work.

Once the glass was melted it was put in a mould, or placed on the end of a blowpipe and blown into a bubble to make vases, bowls and other shapes.

Chinese craftsmen used their knowledge of carving jade to carve glass using a wheel and abrasives. Chinese glass is particularly known for its ‘carved overlay’ technique where one layer of glass is carved through to a layer of a different colour.

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