A reliquary is a container of sacred relics. This example has suspension loops, a lid, and a finial.


The vessel is made from four bubbles of glass.  The object is built on the blowpipe, so the first gather will create the uppermost part, or cup of the vessel.  The walls are very thin.  The object is very small, so little glass is gathered.  Air is blown into the blowpipe, and a bubble forms.  Near the end of the process, to separate the blown glass from the blowpipe, a constriction has to be created.  Next begins the process of adding elements to create the rather complicated stem.  First, a bit of glass is added to the tip and shaped to become a merese.  It’s left slightly conical at its tip.  An even smaller amount of glass is gathered for the first stem element.  It’s a tiny bubble, constricted near the blowpipe and carefully lowered onto the tip of the merese.  A decorative constriction is made near the attachment point.  Another constriction is made, and this will allow the excess glass to be knocked free.  Another merese is made.  Another bubble is lowered onto the second merese.  The third merese is added.  The glass is exceedingly thin.  Frequently, the entire object has to be placed in the furnace and flashed to make sure that all of the parts stay well above 1000 degrees Fahrenheit.  A fourth bubble is added, and this will become the foot.  A hole is created by knocking off the excess glass.  This will become the rim of the foot.  There’s a small, clear lip wrap or edge wrap at the edge of the foot.  A soffietta is used to inflate the foot bubble to make it sufficiently large.  The foot has a curious profile, and that’s created by placing the jacks inside and pushing down and lifting upward.  The vessel is transferred to the punty (or pontil).  It’s broken free of the blowpipe, and the opening reheated.  The opening is made the correct size to receive the lid.  With the entire vessel carefully kept above 1000 degrees, a tiny amount of glass is added.  A second attachment is made, and the excess glass cast free.  The object is broken free of the punty and placed in the annealing oven.  The lid is very small and requires very little glass.  Air is blown into the blowpipe.  A constriction is created near the blowpipe.  This must be carefully made the right shape and diameter to fit into the vessel.  The finial atop the lid is created.  The lid is transferred to the punty, broken free of the blowpipe.  The opening is reheated and carefully tooled to be the right shape and size to fit into the vessel.  Two loops must be added to the lid.  The lid is broken free of the punty, placed into the annealing oven.  After cooling, the lids and vessels are matched for the best fits. 

object information
Decorative Technique(s):
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Reliquart Goblet. Colorless
Accession Number:
Overall H: 13.5 cm; Foot Diam: 4.4 cm
Place Made:
Venice, Italy

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