Stained Glass

In the first century AD, the Romans glazed glass into windows. They cast glass slabs and employed blowing techniques to spin discs and made cylinder glass. The glass was irregular and not very transparent.

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Authorities believe that Arabian glass windows appeared in the second half of the thirteenth century. Lewis F. Day suggests that Byzantine, Moorish or Arabian glass could have appeared by the tenth century AD. Pieces of glass were either inserted into intricate pierced marble or stone, or glazed in plaster before the plaster had set hard. Ribs of iron were often used to strengthen the plaster.

Arabian filigree windows moved into Europe when the Moors entered Spain. As the fashion moved farther north into areas of more inclement weather, covering became more necessary. This covering usually came in the form of slices of alabaster. In Europe, plates of pierced lead replaced the plaster grillwork. The first of these had no glass in the decorative openings, but later small pieces of glass were attached using strings of lead.

Arabian glass windows’ development was slowed because Islam allows no subject other than geometric or vegetal ornament. Traces of cold paint on glass have been found in the mid-east indicating that windows probably stood up better than those windows in damper climates.

 


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