Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Wunderkammer Alert, again

Covered Uranium Glass Sugar Bowl, England, about 1840–1860. This glass was actually made with uranium, and has a deep yellow glow to it not found in any other kind of glass.

Thanks to Morbid Anatomy for their mention quite recently of the Corning Museum of Glass' Curiosities of Glassmaking show, a purely glass wunderkammer: a real, proper exhibition of curiosities. On looking at the Exhibition Checklist, which sadly does not contain any pictures (sigh), I was blown away by the descriptions, and am nearly ready to buy plane tickets to see the wonderous thing.

Euplectellum Aspergillum, or glass sponge, is also known as Venus' Flower Basket. The skeleton of the sponge is a lattice of silica; a scientific study of its substructure and refractive properties found that the sponge’s silica spicules transmit light in a similar way to the optical fibers used in telecommunications.

Among other things, there are glass fire grenades, a pyrex iron c. 1946, meteoric glass, glass sponges, a Klein bottle, Prince Rupert's Drops, strange glass medical equipment, a collection of glass eyes, and glass eye beads, which are supposed to divert the evil eye (more about these later), not to mention various odd, old scientific glass acoutrements and glass used for reliquaries.

If you are anywhere near upstate New York, I encourage you to go look at what seems like one of the most interesting exhibitions this year.

Curiosities of Glassmaking, an exhibit in the West Bridge Gallery of the Corning Museum of Glass, is up until October 21st, 2007.

1 comment:

theskyfullofdust said...

Uranium glass?! Does this mean that the glow fades as the half-life diminishes? How strange and fabulous.

I wonder if it could power a nuclear device?

Something for the ceramics and glass students at my university to think about.