Works-in-Progress Session: “Lustrous Matters: Aventurine Glass in the Early Modern World”

Aventurine Glass

Wednesday, December 7, 2022
12:00 pm PST – 1:00 pm PST

-presented by Cynthia Fang, Ph.D. Student,
Department of Art History, University of California, Los Angeles

Hosted by the Early Modern Research Group

Online event via Zoom

To register for this event, please email the Early Modern Research Group.

Glass––and especially aventurine glass––is a compelling material for tracing connections between makers, spaces, agents, trade and diplomatic circuits, as well as desires for inventive things. First cited in 1626, aventurine was produced by artisans working on Murano. Its distinctive type of appearance, glistening with golden speckles, is created by adding copper to molten glass. Archives show that aventurine appeared in Qing China in 1711, and by 1744, it was being produced in the Qing imperial workshops. This paper considers the global movement of materials, technologies, and objects, and their active uptake, but also the resistance of some cultural forms to easy translation. The case of aventurine attests to how some materials defy expectations for transcultural translations. Thus, the production and export of Venetian glass to China, together with the circulation of technological knowledge and concerns with secrecy, provide insights into the potency of new materials and creative thinking.