Exclusive glass vases and Christmas tree decorations that only exist in one or two samples, aside from high price, most often also have in common unique production technology that is mastered by representatives of a rare profession – glass-blower. The history of the craft has lasted for a couple of millennia with some old secrets of handmade production still kept under seal.
The fact, that molten sand turns into a ropy substance that, when cooled down, graduates into a completely different state, was first discovered by attentive Egyptians some five thousand years ago. Modern scientists during various excavations find old frescos depicting craftsmen skillfully blowing glass bubbles through a pipe. As to material proofs, separate elements testify to the existence of such production in ancient times of pharaohs: shatters of jars, vases, statuettes and even bijouterie. Small green bead that allegedly served as an adornment for a noble Egyptian was found near Thebes – ancient city situated on the east side of Nile – and then sent to Berlin museum for exhibition.
From the country of the pyramids glass blowing craft started its progress through all the continents developing and improving sweepingly to reach the peak of perfection in Europe where maestros keep creating true masterpieces till now. In Italy traditions are treated with special reverence. First glass plants were launched in the city on water – in Venice. Having won popularity among citizens thank to their craft, local “skillful hands” became celebrities of the place. Not only native Italians but also many visitants longed to make it to their flock.
Willing to keep the secret of the Venetian glass recipe, in 13th century authorities of the county allocated the craftsmen a certain place to work and live and compulsorily deported them to the nearest isle of Murano. It was forbidden as strictly as Lent to leave it at will. Those who disobey were likely to get supreme penalty. But at the same time “classified” profession was so prestigious that the richest families sought their daughters in marriage to the experts…
Workshops where items for European noblemen were created are still in operation in the area. Among Italian seigniors an adornment or a set of glasses made of Murano Glass is considered a symbol of an excellent taste and good investment. Today old stuff like ordinary earrings or kitchen utensils became true museum pieces. And although the way to the isle and back is open for every willing one, glass makers prefer not to unveil all the secrets of production technology. Sure enough, a couple of schools operate here where basics of the profession are being taught but still only locals are accepted as students. The exception was probably made for Ritsue Mishima, originally Japanese but a citizen of Italy. Former stylist became one of the few ladies who distinguished herself in this male craft. It all started commonly and in a “feminine” way: Ritsue couldn’t pick a vase that would suit her house. As the saying goes, if you want a thing well done, do it yourself. And that’s the idea which she followed and started cooperating with Murano artisans.
Craftsmen in Czech Republic keep working as diligently; there a glass item was recently created to get the honor of being added to Guinness World Records. It was a giant bottle of whiskey almost two-meter high that easily holds 228 liters of the drink. The majority of Czech handyman is “concentrated” in a town of Nový Bor situated in the North of the country nearby German border. Among population of a little more than ten thousand persons, one third is glass blowers. Strewn wooden shapes and spiraling-up smoke are common place here. In many yards behind picturesque trees and flowers domestic mini-factories are hidden. As a rule, glassmaker’s business hours start at dawn and last till 2 to 3 p.m. Modern technologies in combination with centuries-old secrets rise demand for local craftsmen’s masterpieces, who, unlike Murano ones, willingly invite tourists to watch metamorphoses that occur to simple sand. Those, who become especially swept with the performance, can enroll for a special course and master the art by themselves.
Speaking of glass blowing in European countries, it is worth mentioning German traditions that take shape of Christmas tree decorations production to a greater extent. First “blowing” factory emerged in Germany in 1848. In that time due to poor apple harvest aesthetic side of the holiday became endangered. Craftsmen who decided to create glass analogues of fruit came to the rescue. The experience turned out a success and German Christmas trees got ornamented with first Christmas spheres.
The civilization of ancient China was one of the first to discover porcelain. It is established that back in II millennium BC the firing temperature of pottery found in the Yellow River was close to 1200 ° C. According to some researchers, the invention of porcelain was dictated by the desire to find a replacement for greenstone and jade.
Yesterday I created a Universe. I took some peas, rice, buckwheat, millet, black and white pepper seeds and cardamom. Grabbed a handful of coffee and aniseeds. Then it all acquired a centre. It kept growing and calming my thoughts. When the last seed landed in the circle, I felt forgotten harmony again, heard birds singing through the noise of cars on the avenue...
- Do you want to try some rice? - such a question is greeted by guests in China. And if the owners are also farmers, they can invite you on an unusual excursion and show you the masterpiece of natural art. The grass which we often eat without thinking about its aesthetics, at the time of growing resembles a blanket woven from multi-colored rags ...
Especially for those who believe theatre and opera music to be vestige of the past, we tell about an amazing Austrian theatre where traditional art meets technical and engineering novelties and also a great view of the Alps.
Dazzling flashes of ancient knowledge manifested in colourful shimmering beads and in elaborated yarn mosaics by Huichol Indians, captivate the imagination calling for an endless journey through branches of the world tree. Spiritual images take on flesh in intricate ornaments that accompany a Mexican peasant throughout his life.
More than fifteen hundred years ago Romans were awe struck when they caught the very first sight of the Sistine Chapel. After that masters of painting were born and dead as well as whole pictural art styles. And contemporaries of you and me gape on the distinguished temple.
Many places, famous around the globe today, were created by a bunch of enthusiasts without money or outside help. These people lived for their ideas and were doing everything to turn them into reality. Official date of street art appearance is believed to be year 1942, fervor of World War II.
Independent artist originally from the Philippines, Patrick Cabral conquers the world with his unusual artwork. His creations are an innovation that combines the age-old traditions of calligraphy and cutting-edge 3D technologies. His art is a way to change the world for the better, both through aesthetics and through the fulfillment of a social mission.
A borderline between the shadow and the light is just as contrasting as the one between the dream and the reality. Therefore artists use both things in pursuit of balance on a painting. Landscapes, portraits and still-life… nothing ever goes without the clash of the opposites. However there are particularly crafty artisans who do not need light at all.
Modern cities cannot be imagined without murals – large-scale in size works of picture art that decorate buildings. Not only we have gathered most outstanding works in our collection but also tried to learn as many interesting things as possible about this art movement.
Behind the window sad eyes of old man peered at Petrograd engulfed by revolutionary fire. This fire spread on his life's work: a proud four-story building was invaded by noisy commissioners and sailors, whose presence seemed a cruel joke after regular customers. Workshop owner Carl Gustavovich Fabergé, apparently, noticed in this chaos approaching decay of his career. However, he could have a secret gleam of hope for another life of his heritage.
And since winged horses of Valkyries darted away to Valhalla forever, Dalecarlian horse has remained the guardian of Vikings’ traditions – painted folk toy, first mentioned in chronicles of 17th century. Dalecarlian horse serves as an amulet of non-touristic Sweden by saving from oblivion ancient fables and beliefs.
Twelve-string guitar, the twilight of Portuguese nights, candles, and soul-gripping voice… Dramatic incentives of fado song tell about unrequited love. It cannot appear in the crossroads of destinies; however, it enables feelings to embody into the touching sounds of Portuguese romances.
We have amber flowing through our veins, joke the Balts. They believe that a sunny stone comes from tear drops of their goddess Jūratė. According to legend, she was careless enough to fall in love with a mere mortal fisherman named Kastytis who day by day cast his nets to the Baltic Sea.
Flowers and trees, animals and birds, dragons and fairytale characters – to put it short, anything that may come to your head can turn into an object of edible art there. Amazing technique of painting with hot sugar is possessed by craftsmen from Sichuan province. Paintings performed in almost caramel can be neither “edited”, nor painted over.
Iliko, who devoted all his life to dancing, actually bequeathed to his descendants to do everything possible for his family name remained on posters forever. 70 years later, millions of people in hundreds of countries are buying tickets where in different languages, without translation one can easily read the name of Sukhishvili.
There is music which brings us back to life. It happens even if the tears are falling when one listens to it. The musical genre mugham talks to the audience using the right language. Everyone has lived out unhappy love, loss of a close person or ruin of ideals. These topics became the source of inspiration for the musicians of Azerbaijan movement mugham.
Magic dance of a snake in time with flute’s melody often described in Eastern fairy tales and depicted in movies is no fiction but a true symbol of those countries. In Egypt, India, African countries and some other states slithering tribe are tamed to make a spectacular entertainment out of it. Profession of reptile charmers exists there; it is believed to be as nearly as the most amazing on Earth.
What is it that characterizes any nation without much words and long explanations? Dances, of course, because it is these movements, refined over centuries, that can tell a foreigner about other peoples much more than thick history books. If you carefully watch and feel the way people dance in different countries, their mind set will become much more comprehensible. And these aren’t mere words.
Elaborating an itinerary for a modern tourist has long ago gone beyond a simple classic conception of a trip abroad. Globetrotters of today are so demanding that travel agencies will soon run out of clients to whom to offer a standard set of historic places and souvenir shops because demand is increasing for emotions instead of traditional sightseeing tours.