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About This Collection

This collection of items explores the diverse skill of Ancient Egyptian glass craftsmen. The oldest evidence of glass from Egypt dates to the the reign of Tuthmois III, 18th Dynasty, New Kingdom period. Glass was a material used in high-status items and because of its rarity may help Egyptologists trace the interactions between Ancient Egypt and neighboring empires. In Egypt, evidence of raw glass production is found with palace complexes, such as Amarna, which is where many items in this collection are from.

Egyptian faience and lapis lazuli can be confused for glass. The examples in this collection work to show the difference between Egyptian faience, a non-clay ceramic made from heating crushed quartz and lapis lazuli, a precious stone. Both are usually blue or blue-green and appear to have the same luster as glass, especially when compared in photographs. It is thought faience was glazed a blue or blue-green color to substitute for lapis lazuli or turquoise. This goal to imitate precious stones may be why early glass also took at the same appearance as faience and lapis lazuli. This collection and exhibit is curated by Alexandra Erichson, a Public History graduate student at American University. To learn more about her projects, see ponderingpublichistory.wordpress.com.