Glass making

Country: China

The evidence of glass manufacture in China comes from the late Zhou Dynasty (1046 BC to 221 BC). The evidences proved that Chinese learned to manufacture glass comparatively later than the Mesopotamians, Egyptians and Indians. Imported glass objects first reached China during the late Spring and Autumn period – early Warring States period (early 5th century BC), in the form of polychrome ‘eye beads’. These imports created the impetus for the production of indigenous glass beads.

In nowadays, the glassware separated into three different directions, the artistic pieces, the glassware for daily use and construction and decoration material.

The inner bottle painting is a special art form in China, it involves glass bottles which have pictures and often calligraphy painted on the inside surface of the glass. To paint the inside of the bottle, the artist must paint backwards. Concentration is crucial to make precise strokes. A skilled artist may complete a simple bottle in a week while something special may take a month or more. The best craftspersons may produce only a few bottles in a year.

The bottles are produced by manipulating a specialized paint brush through the neck of the bottle. Mr. Wang Xisan is a China national level Arts & Crafts Master; he is the greatest master in inner bottle painting. Nowadays, most of the artisans for inner bottle painting is from Shandong province, Hebei Province and Beijing. From the traditional form of snuff bottles, they also use this technique in glass bottle, glass teapots and trophies.   

There are many famous artist specialising in glass sculpture, such as Dr. Wang Jianzhong, Prof. from Academy of Fine Arts Tsinghua University. The Shanghai Museum of Glass which exhibits many famous art pieces in Glass. The manufacturing base for glassware is in Shandong province and Guangdong province. Many artisans concentrate on decorative glassware; they produce the giant glass sculpture of Buddha a large glass murals.