Glass strips rather than rods, and the Japanese connection
Re: An observation on contemporary "Boshan" style millefiori beads -- beadiste Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: beadiste Post Reply
02/13/2018, 12:40:09

The 2013 Ornament article features a picture that first appeared in the earlier 1984 issue when Liu & Kan visited a glass bead factory in China. It shows the flat glass strips that were used to make the Chinese lamp beads.

http://ornamentmagazine.epubxp.com/i/139740-vol36-4-2013/45

Pouring flat strips of glass to use in lampworking is a Japanese technique. The Satake glass used by contemporary Japanese lampworkers is produced in flat strips.

Jamey's 2004 presentation speculated how the starburst canes were constructed by laying the thin decorative strips at right angles to a larger flat strip, rolling the whole thing up like a jelly roll, and then drawing out the resulting stubby cylinder of glass into a long rod, subsequently cut into murrine.

The Japanese how-to book Tonbo-dama by Kogure Norikazu has a chapter on making cherry blossom murrine that very closely resemble the little blossoms on old beads that I recollect are in Billy's collection, as well as the murrine in the old pre-WWII Boshan beads as shown in the 2013 Ornament article. A stubby cylinder of glass is patterned, then pulled.

The observations by Sprague, Atkins, and Hector that a popular use for glass beads in China was to make bead curtains and screens, and that plastic beads were taking over this market, might explain why the Boshan bead factory decided not to continue producing old-fashioned lampwork beads once the pre-WWII supply of Japanese-style pulled starburst rods ran out.



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