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allowing them to have been of different pieces, was a greater triumph of skill than imitating the stones.

That the Egyptians, more than 3000 years ago, were well acquainted not only with the manufacture of common glass, for beads and bottles of ordinary quality, but with the art of staining it of divers colours, is sufficiently proved by the fragments found in the tombs of Thebes; and so skilful were they in this complicated process, that they imitated the most fanciful devices, and succeeded in counterfeiting the rich hues, and brilliancy, of precious stones. The green emerald, the purple amethyst, and other expensive gems, were successfully imitated; a necklace of false stones could be purchased at an Egyptian jeweller's, to please the wearer, or deceive a stranger, by the appearance of reality; and some mock pearls (found by me at Thebes) have been so well counterfeited, that even now it is difficult with a strong lens to detect the imposition.

Pliny says the emerald was more easily counterfeited than any other gem, and considers the art of imitating precious stones a far more lucrative piece of deceit than any devised by the ingenuity of man; Egypt was, as usual, the country most noted for this manufacture; and we can readily believe that in Pliny's time they succeeded so completely in the imitation as to render it "difficult to distinguish false from real stones."

Many, in the form of beads, have been met with in different parts of Egypt, particularly at Thebes; and so far did the Egyptians carry this spirit of imitation, that even small figures, scarabæi, and objects made of ordinary porcelain, were counterfeited; being composed of still cheaper materials. A figure, which was entirely of earthenware, with a glazed exterior, underwent a somewhat more complicated process than when cut out of stone, and simply covered with a vitrified coating; this last could therefore be sold at a low price: it offered all the brilliancy of the former, and its weight alone betrayed its inferiority; by which means, whatever was novel, or pleasing from its external

*Plin. xxxvii. 12.

appearance, was placed within reach of all classes; or at least the possessor had the satisfaction of seeming to partake in each fashionable novelty.

Such inventions, and successful endeavours to imitate costly ornaments by humbler materials, not only show the progress of art among the Egyptians, but strongly argue the great advancement they had made in the customs of civilised life; since it is certain, that until society has arrived at a high degree of luxury and refinement, artificial wants of this nature are not created, and the poorer classes do not yet feel the desire of imitating the rich, in the adoption of objects dependent on taste or accidental caprice.

Glass bugles and beads were much used by the Egyptians for necklaces, and for a sort of network, with which they covered the wrappers and cartonage of mummies. They were arranged so as to form, by their varied hues, numerous devices or figures, in the manner of our bead purses; and women sometimes amused themselves by stringing them for ornamental purposes, as at the present day.

The principal use to which glass was applied by the Egyptians, (besides the beads and fancy work already noticed,) was for the manufacture of bottles, vases, and other utensils; wine was frequently brought to table in a bottle, or handed to a guest in a cup of this material; and a body was sometimes buried in a glass coffin. Occasionally a granite sarcophagus was covered with a coating of vitrified matter, usually of a deep green colour, which displayed, by its transparency, the sculptures or hieroglyphic legends engraved upon the stone; a process well understood by the Egyptians, and the same they employed in many of the blue figures of pottery and stone, commonly found in their tombs.

In their glass mosaics, the colours have a wonderful brilliancy; the blues which are given by copper are vivid and beautifully clear; and one of the reds has all the intenseness of rosso antico, with the brightness of the glassy material in which it is found; thus combining the qualities of a rich enamel.

Many of the porcelain cups discovered at Thebes present a tasteful arrangement of varied hues, and show the skill of the

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Egyptians, and the great experience they possessed in this branch of art. The manner in which the colours are blended and arranged; the minuteness of the lines, frequently tapering off to an almost imperceptible fineness; and the varied directions of twisted curves, traversing the substance, but strictly conforming to the pattern designed by the artist, display no ordinary skill, and show that they were perfect masters of the means they employed.

The Egyptian porcelain should perhaps be denominated glassporcelain, as partaking of the quality of the two, and not being altogether unlike the porcelain-glass invented by the celebrated Réaumur; who discovered, during his curious experiments on different qualities of porcelain, the method of converting glass into a substance very similar to chinaware.

The ground of Egyptian porcelain is generally of one homogeneous quality and hue, either blue or green, traversed in every direction by lines or devices of other colours-red, white, yellow, black, light or dark blue, and green, or whatever the artist chose to introduce; and these are not always confined to the surface, but frequently penetrate into the ground, sometimes having passed half, or entirely, through the fused substance; in which respect they differ from the porcelain of China, where the flowers or patterns are applied to the surface, and justify the use of the term glass-porcelain. In some instances, the yellows were put on after the other colours, upon the surface of the vase, which was then again subjected to a proper degree of heat; and after this, the handles, the rim, and the base, were added, and fixed by a repetition of the same process. It was not without considerable risk that these additions were made to their porcelain and glass vases, and many were broken during the operation; to which Martial alludes, in an epigram on these fragile cups of the Egyptians.

That the Egyptians possessed considerable knowledge of chemistry and the use of metallic oxides, is evident from the nature of the colours applied to their glass and porcelain; and they were even acquainted with the influence of acids upon colour, being able, in the process of dyeing or staining cloth, to

bring about certain changes in the hues, by the same means adopted in our own cotton works, as I shall show in describing the manufactures of the Egyptians.

The art of cutting glass was known to them at the most remote periods; hieroglyphics and various devices being frequently engraved upon vases and beads; they also ground glass; and some, particularly that which bears figures or ornaments in relief, was cast in a mould. Some have supposed that the method of cutting glass was unknown to the ancients, and have limited the period of its invention to the commencement of the 17th century of our era, when Gaspar Lehmann, at Prague, first succeeded in it, and obtained a patent from the Emperor Rodolph II.; but the specimens of ancient glass, cut, engraved, and ground, discovered in Egypt, suffice to prove the art was practised there of old.

We find that in Rome the diamond was used for cutting hard stones; for Pliny tells us that diamonds were eagerly sought by lapidaries, who set them in iron handles, having been found to penetrate anything, however hard. He also states that emeralds and other hard stones were engraved, though in early times it was "considered wrong to violate gems with any figures or devices ;" and "all gems could be engraved by the diamond." And though we do not know the precise method adopted by the Egyptians for cutting glass and hard stones, we may reasonably conclude they were acquainted with the diamond, and adopted it for engraving them. Emery powder and the lapidary's wheel were also used in Egypt; and there is little doubt that the Israelites learnt the art of cutting and engraving stones in that country.

Some glass bottles were enclosed in wicker-work very nearly resembling what is now called by the Egyptians a damagán: which holds from one to two gallons of fluid; and some of a smaller size, from six to nine inches in height, were protected by a covering made of the stalks of the papyrus or cyperus rush, like the modern bottles containing Florence oil: others again appear

* The stones engraved by the Israelites were the "sardius, topaz, and carbuncle; the emerald, sapphire, and diamond; the ligure, agate, and amethyst; the beryl, onyx, and jasper." Exod. xxviii. 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, and xxxix. 6.

[graphic][merged small][merged small]

379.

Fig. 1 has apparently leather sewed over the glass.
2 glass damagán enclosed in wickerwork.

3 small glass bottle covered with papyrus rush, like the Florence oil flasks.
4 a piece of cloth with a border of a blue colour.

to have been partly cased in leather, sewed over them, much in the same manner as some now made for carrying liquids on a journey. (Figs. 1, 3, and 2.)

Among the many bottles found in the tombs of Thebes, and other places, none have excited greater curiosity and surprise than those of Chinese manufacture, presenting inscriptions in that language. Their number is considerable, and I have seen more than twenty from Thebes and other places. But though found in ancient tombs, there is no evidence of their having really been deposited there in early Pharaonic or even Ptolemaic times; and so many of the tombs have been occupied till a recent period by the Moslem population, that they may have been left there by these their more recent inmates. Professor Rosellini, however, mentions one he met with "in a previously unopened tomb, of uncertain date, which" he refers, "from the style of the sculptures, to a Pharaonic period, not much later than the 18th dynasty;" and, were it not for this, we might suppose them brought from India by Arab traders. They are about two

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