Yi-Xian Lin, recently a Newton International Fellow at the Institute of Archaeology of University College London, will be completing a postdoctoral research project on the earliest pigments (Chinese Blue and Purple) and mixed-alkaline glassy faience found at many archaeological sites in northwestern China.
Margherita Ferri of Ca’ Foscari University of Venice will be studying trade routes and consumption patterns of Venetian-style glass along the eastern Adriatic coast.
The starting point of Dr. Lin’s research was the Majiayuan Cemetery in Gansu, where, she says, tens of thousands of vitreous objects have been excavated since 2006. A large number of similar beads from other sites, ranging from northwestern to southwestern China and dating from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age, have been identified. During the past two years, Dr. Lin has conducted a study of the chemical compositions and microstructures of these samples.
Dr. Lin believes that “the manufacture of the mixed-alkaline faience was probably affected by developments in Europe and Russia (from the Caucasus region to southern Russia)… Compositional parallels to the Chinese mixed-alkaline glassy faience are mainly found in Italy, France, Switzerland, Poland, and Russia in the Bronze Age” and elsewhere in Europe from the end of the Bronze Age to the early Iron Age.
In order to gain a better understanding of the origin of the ancient Chinese mixed-alkaline faience, Dr. Lin has planned analyses of lead, strontium, and copper isotopes for selected samples. These analyses, she says, will help her to determine whether the faience was manufactured locally, and to assess the possible influence of foreign technology.
Dr. Lin received her Ph.D. from the Institute of Historical Metallurgy and Materials at the University of Science and Technology in Beijing. She wrote her dissertation on chemical analyses of glasses from the Niya oasis. She has been appointed as an affiliated research fellow at the Gansu Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology through 2013.
Dr. Ferri’s research begins with the glass unearthed at Stari Bar, a key site in Montenegro, by a team of archaeologists from Ca’ Foscari University in Venice. These finds will be compared with glass from collections and other excavations along the eastern coast of the Adriatic in order to trace the production and consumption of Venetian-style glass in this area.
Some of the glass from Stari Bar has already been studied, Dr. Ferri reports, but the focus in 2012 will be on glass vessels found in the so-called Doge’s Palace, “a large tower of the Slavonic period that during Venetian time becomes a public structure with growing social importance.” The data from various excavations in Stari Bar will be combined to determine “possible changes and transformations of the material culture of the city, shown by the glass,” during the 15th and 16th centuries. The finds from Stari Bar will then be compared with material found in the coastal Balkans, both from excavations and in museum collections.
The main result of this research, Dr. Ferri says, will be “the opportunity to write a history of production and consumption of vessels in the style of Venice in the Balkan area, particularly regarding the eastern Adriatic coast.”
Dr. Ferri’s Ph.D. was awarded by Ca’ Foscari University in Venice, where she wrote her dissertation on late medieval to modern pottery. She also studied medieval archaeology at that university and wrote a thesis on glass finds from excavations in Torcello and San Francesco del Deserto-Venezia. In her postdoctoral work there, she is studying glass and pottery of the Middle Ages from Venice and the Veneto.
The Rakow Grant for Glass Research was founded by the late Dr. and Mrs. Leonard S. Rakow, who were Fellows, friends, and benefactors of The Corning Museum of Glass. It is awarded annually to support scholarly research on the history of glass and glassmaking. Additional information can be found at http://www.cmog.org/research/grant.
About The Corning Museum of Glass
The Corning Museum of Glass is the foremost authority on the art, history, science, and design of glass. It is home to the world’s most important collection of glass, including the finest examples of glassmaking spanning 3,500 years. Live glassblowing demonstrations (offered at the Museum, on the road, and at sea on Celebrity Cruises) bring the material to life. Daily Make Your Own Glass experiences at the Museum enable visitors to create work in a state-of-the-art glassmaking studio. The campus in Corning includes a year-round glassmaking school, The Studio, and the Rakow Research Library, the world’s preeminent collection of materials on the art and history of glass. Located in the heart of the Finger Lakes Wine Country of New York State, the Museum is open daily, year-round. Kids and teens, 19 and under, receive free admission.