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CMoG lauding mold-blown ancient Roman glass

Examples of ancient mold-blown glass, including pieces dating back to the first century A.D., will be on display at The Corning Museum of Glass, starting in 2015.

CORNING, N.Y. — This spring, The Corning Museum of Glass (CMoG) is presenting the largest exhibition to date devoted to ancient mold-blown glass.

The exhibition will feature works from the early first century A.D., the earliest example of

 Ewer, Ennion, possibly Palestine, probably Syria, 25-75. 59.1.76. The Corning Museum of Glass

Ewer, Ennion, possibly Palestine, probably Syria, 25-75. 59.1.76. The Corning Museum of Glass

mold blown glass in the CMoG collection, to the seventh century A.D. — 600 years after the innovations of Roman glassmaker Ennion, who transformed the industry. Ennion and his Legacy: Mold-Blown Glass from Ancient Rome will explore the diversity of Roman mold-blown glass, which was traded across the Mediterranean world, and reveal the stories these vessels tell about the ancient world — from the development of the perfume and oil trade to the celebrity culture surrounding gladiators and Roman empresses. The exhibition opens on May 16, 2015, and runs through January 4, 2016.

More than 120 works, including highlights from CMoG’s unparalleled collection of ancient glass, along with loans from the Metropolitan Museum of Art and other international public and private collections, will illustrate the relationship between mold-blown glass vessels and their counterparts in ceramic and metal, which had been shaped in molds for centuries. The use of molds in glassmaking was introduced at the end of the first century B.C., shortly after the introduction of glassblowing — a revolutionary breakthrough that made the production of vessels faster and simpler. Molds, which had been used to shape ceramic and metal objects, were quickly adapted for glassblowing and enabled quicker manufacturing processes, standardization of size, the production of multiples and more elaborate, intricate designs than those seen previously in ceramic or metal.

“The iconography depicted on these pieces reveals what was important in popular culture in the ancient world —from the gods to favorite gladiators. In addition, mold-blown glass played an important role in the ancient marketplace. We take it for granted today that milk cartons contain a quart or a liter, but in antiquity, capacity could vary. The uniformity of mold-blown vessels ensured that the consumer was getting what they paid for,” said CMoG Executive Director Dr. Karol Wight, exhibition curator and ancient glass scholar.

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. For more information on this historic exhibition, visit

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