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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.
Fig. 1 has apparently leather sewed over the glass.
3 small glass bottle covered with papyrus rush, like the Florence oil flasks.
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
inches in height: one side presents a flower, and the other an inscription, containing, according to Sir J. Davis (in three out of eight he examined), the following legend :-" The flower opens, and lo! another year;" and another has been translated by Mr. Thoms:-"During the shining of the moon the fir-tree sends forth its sap," (which in a thousand years becomes amber.)
The quality of these bottles is very inferior, and of a time, as Sir J. Davis thought, "when the Chinese had not yet arrived at the same perfection in making porcelain as at present." They appear to have been only prized for their contents; and after they were exhausted, the valueless bottle was applied to the
ordinary purpose of holding the Kohl, or Collyrium, used by women for staining their eyelids.*
It has been questioned, if the Egyptians understood the art of enamelling upon gold or silver, but we might infer it from an expression of Pliny, who says: "The Egyptians paint their silver vases, representing Anubis upon them, the silver being painted and not engraved ;" and M. Dubois had in his possession a specimen of Egyptian enamel. The reason of the doubt is our finding so many small gold figures with ornamented wings, and bodies, whose feathers, faces, or other coloured parts are composed of a vitrified composition, let into the metal. But they may have adopted both processes; and it is probable that many early specimens of encaustum were made by tooling the devices to a certain depth on bronze, and pouring a vitrified composition into the hollow space, the metal being properly heated, at the same time; and, when fixed, the surface was smoothed down and polished.
Both the encaustic painting in wax, and that which consisted in burning in the colours, were evidently known to the ancients, being mentioned by Pliny, Ovid, Martial, and others; and the latter is supposed to have been on the same principle as our enamelling on gold.
Bottles of various kinds, glass, porcelain, alabaster, and other materials were frequently exported from Egypt to other countries. The Greeks, the Etruscans, and the Romans received them as articles of luxury, which being remarkable for their beauty were prized as ornaments of the table; and when Egypt became a Roman province, part of the tribute annually paid to the conquerors consisted of glass vases, from the manufactories of Memphis and Alexandria.
The intercourse between Egypt and Greece had been constantly kept up after the accession of Psammitichus and Amasis;
* Since the above was written, a paper has been presented by Mr. Medhurst to the Royal Asiatic Society, which would establish the fact of their having been brought by the Arab traders, if, as there stated, the style of the characters did not come into use till the 3rd century of our era; and the poems, from which the sentences were taken, were not written till the 8th and 11th centuries. The earliest mention of porcelain in China is also limited to the 2nd century B.C. A similar bottle was found by Mr. Layard at Arban, on the Khaboor.
and the former country, the parent of the arts at that period, supplied the Greeks and some of the Syrian tribes with numerous manufactures. The Etruscans, too, a commercial people, appear to have had an extensive trade with Egypt, and we repeatedly find small alabaster, as well as coloured glass, bottles in their tombs, which have all the character of the Egyptian; and not only does the stone of the former proclaim by its quality the quarries from which it was taken, but the form and style of the workmanship leave no doubt of the bottles themselves being the productions of Egyptian artists. The same remark applies to many objects
found at Nineveh.
It is uncertain of what stone the famous murrhine vases, mentioned by Pliny, Martial, and other writers, were made; it was of various colours, beautifully blended, and even iridescent, and was obtained in greater quantity in Carmania than in any country. It was also found in Parthia and other districts of Asia, but unknown in Egypt; a fact quite consistent with the notion of its being fluor-spar, which is not met with in the valley of the Nile; and explaining the reason why the Egyptians imitated it with the composition known under the name of false murrhine, said to have been made at Thebes and Memphis. The description given by Pliny certainly bears a stronger resemblance to the fluor-spar than to any other stone, and the only objection to this having been murrhine, is our not finding any vases, or fragments, of it; and some may still doubt if the substance is known to which the naturalist alludes. But the fluor-spar appears to have the strongest claim; and the glass-porcelain of Egypt, whose various colours are disposed in waving lines, as if to imitate the natural undulations of that crystallised substance, may be the false murrhine of the ancients. (Woodcuts 170, fig. 2; 171, fig. 5.)
It is difficult to say whether the Egyptians employed glass for the purpose of making lamps or lanterns: ancient authors give us no direct information on the subject; and the paintings offer few representations of lamps, torches, or any other kind of light.*
Herodotus mentions a "fête of burning lamps," which took
* In the funeral processions one person carries what seems to be a candle or torch.