For more than three millennia, glassmakers in the ancient Mediterranean and Near East produced stunning vessels that employed a variety of manufacturing techniques and decorative schemes, combining an eye for beauty with virtuosic craftsmanship. Glassmaking—which originated in Mesopotamia in the third millennium B.C., underwent significant development in New Kingdom Egypt, and gained widespread popularity in the Roman and Byzantine Empires—evolved through a long process of cross-cultural circulation and borrowing as well as the innovations of individual workshops. Many trends came and went, while other changes revolutionized the industry and are still in use by glassmakers today. “Drink That You May Live”: Ancient Glass from the Yale University Art Gallery traces the technical evolution of ancient glassmaking and tells the story of how ancient glass was used, and by whom. The exhibition features approximately 130 vessels and fragments from the Gallery’s comprehensive collection of ancient glass, many of which have never before been on view, including pieces from Yale’s early 20th-century excavations at the sites of Dura-Europos (in present-day Syria) and Gerasa (now Jerash, Jordan). The objects on display open up a window onto craft production, daily life, religion, trade, and luxury in the ancient world.
Views of the Exhibition
Exhibition organized by Sara E. Cole, Ph.D. 2015, Curatorial Assistant, Antiquities Department, J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, and former Graduate Curatorial Intern, Department of Ancient Art, Yale University Art Gallery. Made possible by the Jane and Gerald Katcher Fund for Education; the Nolen-Bradley Family Fund for Education; and the John F. Wieland, Jr., B.A. 1988, Fund for Student Exhibitions.