Skip to comments.Scientists: Glass dish unearthed in Nara came from Roman Empire
Posted on 11/15/2014 4:26:09 PM PST by SunkenCiv
-A glass dish unearthed from a burial mound here is the first of its kind confirmed to have come to Japan from the Roman Empire, a research team said...
The dish and bowl were retrieved together from the No. 126 tumulus of the Niizawa Senzuka cluster of ancient graves, a national historic site. The No. 126 tumulus dates back to the late fifth century...
According to the teams analysis, the chemical composition of the clear dark blue dish is almost identical to glasswork unearthed in the area of the Roman Empire (27 B.C.-A.D. 395).
Measuring 14.1 to 14.5 centimeters in diameter, the flat, raised dish is believed to have been created in the second century at the latest...
The chemical compositions of natron, a type of sodium mineral, as well as sand made of silica and lime, resemble those typically found in Mediterranean glasswork produced in the Roman Empire and the following Eastern Roman Empire period.
The team also conducted a fluorescence X-ray test on the dish using a high-energy radiation beam at the Spring 8 large synchrotron radiation facility in Sayo, Hyogo Prefecture. The test revealed antimony, a metallic element believed to be used in Rome until the second century.
...the chemical composition of the cut glass bowl is the same as that of glass fragments unearthed from the remains of a palace in the ancient Persian capital of Ctesiphon. The bowl is 8 cm in diameter, 7 cm tall and narrower in the upper part.
(Excerpt) Read more at ajw.asahi.com ...
Scientists determined that this glass dish found in Japan came from ancient Rome. (Provided by the Tokyo National Museum)
Where is Nara?
I once went to the Glass Museum in Corning, NY.
I recommend non-suicidal people stay away from it. I almost died from boredom.
About 75 miles north of Tokyo.
We know the Romans had trade with Vietnam (or at least, a large horde of their coins was found there). Either they—or intermediary merchants—apparently also transported their goods as far as Japan.
(The “Global Economy” is just a fancy term for what has always existed, imho.)
Never mind - I’m thinking of Nakka. Nara is down near Osaka.
It’s about 30 miles south of Kyoto and 30 miles east of Osaka - it’s known for being the first real area of concentrated Japanese culture. The leader during that era, Shotoku Taishi @600AD instituted many reforms that lead Japan into the later Heian era in Kyoto. If the plate is from the Romans, it was probably brought from the Chinese or Koreans. The Japanese worked intensely during that period to import technology, especially metallurgy.
Would love to know the story of how it got there, the people who owned it and how it came to be preserved.
My Dad took us there when I was in 6th grade or so. I still remember him demonstrating the optical interferometer to me which measured microscopic deformations of the surface. We also saw the extra blank for the 200 inch Palomar Observatory telescope mirror. One of many things he did to get me interested in science, technology, and engineering. Too bad you don’t enjoy such wonders—lots of us do.
No, it's about 20 miles east of Osaka and 30 miles south of Kyoto; it was the first capital of imperial Japan, to be succeeded by Kyoto.
The most obvious answer would be via the Silk Road; there was a spur from the east end of the Silk Road in Xian that went through Manchuria and the Korean peninsula to Japan, ending in Nara.
Quite so, but I mean the particulars of its journey, the lives of the people involved, etc.
Something like a Michener novel.
There was also a lot of seaborne trade. Some of it apparently got as far as Japan, through multiple intermediaries, no doubt.
That would indeed be interesting.
The Romans had connections with ships from Aqaba that went to India for (black) pepper, so it's possible, but it would have gone through many hands as you suggest; it would be easier to simply have one trader take it all the way to Xian, and another from there to Nara.
What interests me is how similar in style and shape this is to Song dynasty wide-and-flat bowls, which eventually become the basis for hirajawan used for drinking tea in Japan in the summer.
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Really, that’s a big favorite, great collection of ancient glass, and the layout of the museum should inform museum construction everywhere.
I am glad you guys enjoyed it.
I didn’t see wonders, just — old glass.
Maybe I just wasn’t in the right mood that day.
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