Creation general coordination:
Diego Lazzarini / Vesign Studio – Venice
ALATI – Glasses or goblets with lateral glass wings attached to thè sides abave thè handles fòr decorative purposes. Known in Germany as Flugel glàser. these were manufactured during thè lóth and 17th centuries.
ALBÓL or ALBUÓL – A wooden chest used for mixing thè glassmaking mixture. Rarely used nowadays.
ALBOLETI – Smaller alboli.
ALLUME CATINO – Sodic plant ash which was imported under this name from Syria and used as flux.
AMALGAMA – A technique used right up to thè end of thè 18th century for silvering mirrors. It consists of thè application of tin leaf amalgamated with mercury onto a sheet of glass.
ANZINELLO – An iron hook attached to thè ANZIPE7TO strong enough to support thè weight of thè blow-pipe with glass deposited at one end, and fìxed above a perpendicular shelf at thè BOCCA DEL FORNO (glory-hole).
ANZIPETTO – A table made of thick wood usually covered in metal sheeting and placed at thè left side of thè glory-hole to protect thè glassmaker from thè heat.
APPLICAZIONI A CALDO – Hot application. A technique frequently used at Murano involving thè application of threads, borders, handles, etc., of various shapes, colours and sizes during thè working of a glass object. Only when thè decorations are perfectly even and precise is thè final product considered to be a success from an aesthetic point of view.
ARA (also ERA) – Long ago this term was appliéd to thè rear of thè Murano furnace, which was also used as an annealing oven where completed objects were left to cool.
ASIO (AGIO OR WORK PLACE) – A gently sloping horizontal shelf underneath thè glory-hole of thè furnace; a sort of tray onto which melted glass often drips when it is being removed from thè pots.
ATTACCAGAMBI – A traditional task in thè manufacture of drinking glasses or other stemmed objects.The job is usually entrusted to a skilled craftsman who is only slightly less qualified than thè master.
AVÒLIO – A spool-shaped piece of glass, which, as a rule, is used to unite a bowl with its base. In a drinking glass, it connects thè uper portion (known in Muranese as bevante) with thè stem ( in Muranese, gambo).
AVVENTURINA – An especially prized glass paste, invented by Murano glassmakers during thè first half of thè 1 7th century. It was given this name because its manufacturing process was tricky and of uncertain success ,for even thè most experienced glassmaker, and was therefore a ventura or chance. The preparation of “aventurine” is long and delicate, resulting in thè formation of small copper crystals, foliated and shining (stelle or stars, from whence stellaria, as “aventurine” was also known in thè past), and was kept a ciosely guarded secret across thè centuries by a small number of skilled glassmakers. The glass is removed from thè furnace in blocks, after having been slowly cooled, and its characteristic apperance can be seriously impaired during remelting. Once cold, it is cut like a hard stone, or worked hot with special care. Ordinary “aventurine” is a brownish colour with stelle, whilst an even more highly valued type, known as verderame, takes on a copper green colour of superb effect.
BALLOTTÒN – A metal die giving a, cross-relief effect on glass. Inside thè die are small square-capped “points” which, when thè glass is blown, result in thè cross-relief pattern.By covering a PEA stamped in this way with a layer (COPERTA) of glass, using thè SOMMERSO technique for example, an effect is obtained whereby hundreds of minute air bubbles are trapped between two layers of glass.
BÀNCO (DEL FORNO) – The entire horizontal lower section of thè traditional Murano glass furnace made of heavy refractory material. It supported melting pots and pans, PALATI, NINFETTE, and CROISIOLI. In thè middle of thè banco there was a hole approximately 30 to 40 cm. in diameter known as thè OCIO (eye) connecting thè banco of thè furnace with thè CASTRA below, and allowing thè flames to trave! towards thè main furnace area. The naturai draught caused thè flames to emerge from thè various glory-holes, resulting in thè circulation of thè heat necessary to thè CALDA operation and to thè generai working of thè glass and finally coming out of thè CAVALLETO and entering thè annealing area.
BESEGNÀCCO – An ancient term which probably referred to a type of blown glass.
BEVÀNTE – The name given to thè upper section of a drinking glass, i.e. thè part intended to hold liquids.
BÒCCAR – ectangular aperture , thè upper side of which is rounded. This is thè main outer “entrance“ to thè oven, and it may vary in dimensions, according to thè size of thè object being made, which is placed in thè oven using pipes (CANNE) or punties (PUNTELLI) which are rested in turn on thè ANZINELLO.
BÒLO – A Murano word referring to thè first lump of molten glass, just after removai from thè melting pot, before work on it begins. Pastone (paste), PARESON and LEVADA have thè same meaning.
BORSÈLLA – A traditional, basic glassmaking tool. A kind of pair of flexible tongs, resembling chimney tongs, and used for squeezing, modelling and shaping objects. Diferent types of borselle are used for specific modelling operations:
– da siègar (segare: to saw, strozzare: to squeeze) (pizzicare: to pinch)
– da pissegàr (terminating in small blades with metal criss-cross relief)
– a gelosìa (spoon-shaped)
– a scuelòto (tile-shaped)
– a coppo (with a crosswise groove)
– a un gàtolo (with two crosswise grooves)
– a do gàtoli (with many crosswise grooves)
– a spin de pesse (herringbone)
– lissie (broad and fiat, without moulding)
BRONZINO – A large slab, which is nowadays made of iron, but was once of bronze (hence its name). It is placed horizontally across a table or trestle, and allows various stages of thè glassmaking process to be carried out. It is used for rounding off and preparing thè PEA before blowing.
Originally, marble was also used, leading to thè name màlmoro.
BUFFADÓR – The old name for a Murano glassmaker of modest professional standing, usually employed to make glassware for ordinaiy use (such as tumblers and jugs).
BUFFARÌA – Used long ago to describe blown glassware for ordinary use.
CALCEDÒNIO (also CHALZADÒNIO) – A vitreous paste with a dark base, red when transparent, with multicoloured veins, imitating a variety of naturai chalcedony, zoned agate. Invented at Murano i thè mid- 15th century, its difficult preparation requires thè addi- tion of various metallic compounds to thè glass mixture, in specifìc ways and at specifìc intervals. The secret of its manufacture, lost between thè end of thè 18th century and thè first half of thè 19th, was rediscovered by Lorenzo Radi, during thè last century.
CALCHERÀ – In early times thè place in which thè mixture of silica alld flux was calcinated (this operation was performed before thè actual fusion took place inside thè pot).
CALDA – A basic operation carried out several times during thè working of an object. The piece being made, attached to thè end of thè blow-pipe or punty is inserted into thè furnace where it softens so that thè glassmaker can make further amendments to its shape. This is a very brief operation (lasting on average 10 15 seconds). Mezza calda is simply a calda of shorter duration.
CALDIÈRE DA LÌSTA DE CRESTÀLI – Large pots used to transform plant ash, which was used at Murano in early times, into thè flux suitable for preparing so-called Venetian crystal.
CANNA – The blow-pipe: a basic tool in glassmaking. It consists of a tube, perforated from end to end, approximately 140 to 150 cm. long and 2 to 4 cm. in diameter. One end is slightly conical to assist blowing, whilst thè other is sometimes thickened. The blow-pipe (discovered towards thè lst centuiy A.D. in Syria, it would seem) is used to blow glass, which is taken from thè pot and “wound “ around thè thickened end.Blowing takes place whenever hollow objects (vases, bottles, etc.) are required.In old inven- tories blow-pipes are sometimes referred to as ferri buxi or hollow rods.They are also simply called ferri.
CARAMÀL – A covered area next to thè furnace, where thè beechwood was kept before being placed in thè stue (stoves) to dry (stuàr) rapidly.
CASSA – A large semicircular metal spoon used to mix (missiar) or remove thè molten material from thè pot and transport it to other pots, or to spread it onto thè BRONZINO for special operations (suchh as thè making of glass sheets or quari, rectangular forms, for mirrors). There is documentary proof that this basic tool was already in use In 1343 (thè Latin term is CAC1AM AD TRAGETANDO).
CASSIOLÌN – A smàller version of thè CASSA.
CASTRA – The lower part of thè classic Murano oven, rectangular in shape. Beechwood was placed inside to burn, and thè flames, passing through thè OCIO (eye) of thè BANCO, licked against thè pots and spread thfou- ghout thè furnace proper.
CAVALLETTO – A type of box, made of refractory material and shaped like a prompter’s box. In thè traditional Murano furnaces, at thè rear of which there was a TEMPERA or annealing area, this transported thè flames which, after travelling through thè OCIO and coming into contact with thè pots, were directed towards thè annealing zone in which thè glass objects were cooled as necessary.
CESENDELLO – Hanging lamp typical to Murano, in thè form of a tali cylin- der into which oil was poured and slowly burned using a wick. It was used for indoor lighting. Vittore Carpaccio’s painting The Dream of St. Ursula depicts a well-known example of thè cesendello.
CIOCCA – In Venetian, bouquet of flowers.A Murano word which has been used since thè 18th century for thè classic Venetian chandelier which was decorated with glass flowers, leaves and branches. From this word derives thè expression “il liogo de le ciòcche” thè area in which thè Venetian chandeliers are assembled.
COGOLI – River pebbles containing quartz, reduced to a fine powder and used on Murano instead of sand from thè first half of thè 14th century in order to obtain silica. Pebbles from thè Ticino River (cògoli del Tesòn) were of particular importance, thanks to their high silica content.
COLATÙRA – A technique used in thè manufacture of glass sheets for Windows and mirrors. It involves pouring thè molten glass directly into special rectangular moulds of various sizes (known in old slang as quari). This method was widely adopted towards thè dose of thè 17th century at Murano, in France, and near Savona at Altare.
COLLÉTTO – A small band of glass which remains attached to thè tip of thè blow-pipes or punties.
CÓNCA – A large cylindrical pot with a concave base, usually in bronze or ast iron, containing molten glass that has been removed from thè pots and will only be utilized as COTIZZO.
CONFITÈRA – Also called dulcèra, a jar with a lid, a type of potiche like those made by Spanish glassmakers as sweetmeat containers (17th – 18th centuries). Confitère are mentioned in an inventory dated 4th May 1496 from thè glassworks of Maria and Giovanni Barovier.
COLORAZIONE A CALDO SENZA FUSIONE – “Hot colouring without fusion” is a unique colouring process that was invented by Ercole Barovier at thè end of thè 1920’s. During thè working of a glass object, Chemical substances (oxides and salts) or other elements are inserted between two layers of clear, incandescent glass. The high temperature causes special colour reactions and stunning chromatic effects which are never thè same from one object to thè next.
COLORI IN FÓGO (literally: coloured in fusion) – This expression is stili used at Murano. It refers to glass that is coloured whilst stili molten using oxides or minerai salts.
CONTERIE – Nowadays thè word conterie is given to very small beads made by cutting slim perforated glass canes into sections when cold and rounding off thè small cylinders obtained when hot.They were once given a name of Latin origin, margarite, whereas thè term conterie was used for larger beads which were also obtained from perforated canes but were threaded onto a skewer and rounded off dose to thè heat source. The conterie used for trading with natives of thè colonia! countries were made in Venice from thè 16th century. Their name only dates from thè 17th century ans derives from thè Portuguese word conto (a monetary unit) or perhaps from thè Latin comptus meaning “ornate”.
COPERTA – The application of an even layer of molten glass to thè PEA or to a partly-shaped object. This technique is used to obtain thè SOMMERSO and DOUBLÉ effects, and should not be confused with thè LEVADA operation.
CONZAÙRA – Literally, acconciatura or preparation. It is a kind of glass piate, 6 to 8 cm., on which thè glass paste is stretched in order to obtain glass canes.
COTÌZZO (Cotizza or coticcia, i.e. not cooked through). – A pile of large pieces of glass, usually thè size of river pebbles. Cotizzo may also be obtained by pouring molten glass removed from thè pots into thè CONCHE and then leaving it to cool. During thè cooling process thè glass contracts and breaks into large pieces. As scrap glass, cotizzo is often re-utilized as a catalyst in thè glass mixture. The 1766 Capitulary mentions “cotizzi of glass and crystal. as thè shapeless glass mass taken from thè pot is called”.
CRISTALLO (Venetian crystal) – Clear, colourless glass obtained for thè fìrst time around thè middle of thè 15th century by thè Muranese glassmaker .Angelo Barovier. He did not only use manganese a s a decolouriser – this being a technique already in practice – but invented a purification method using ash flux and involving special processes at thè melting stage. Venetian sodium crystal, unlike thè later Bohemian potassium crystal and thè English v lead crystal, is suitable for long and complicated manual operations by thè master glassmaker.
CRISTALLINO – Another word for thè Venetian crystal discovered by Angelo Barovier in thè mid-15th century.
CROISÌOL – A small pot containing approximately 8 to 10 kilograms of molten glass.
CRÓZZOLA – A sort of croupier’s scoop, with a long handle, used to spiumare or skim thè surface of thè molten glass inside thè pots, and remove thè impurities which have risen to thè top.
DIÀVOLO – A two-wheeled trolley with a long handle at thè rear and a horizontal two-pronged fork at thè front. When an old, broken pot had to be replaced, an incandescent pot was placed on thè fork. The diavolo (“devil”) was then pushed on to thè BANCO, demolishing thè glory-hole, and removing thè ASIO, in order to put thè new pot inside with thè fire stili alight.
DOUBLÉ – A French word referring to an object made from two layers of glass, usually of different colours, which may be cut when cold.
FENICIO – A type of decoration obtained by applying hot vitreous threads around thè walls of blown glass objects. These threads are then combed with a special tool in order to create repeated festoons. Once reheated and blown, these can be incorporated into thè wall of thè vase to produce a smooth surface. This decorative technique was introduced to thè Murano glassworks at thè end of thè 16th century or in thè 17th century, but we do not know what it was called then. The term Fenicio (Phoenician)was adopted during thè 19th century when similar decorations were found in pre-Roman , Phoenician and Egyptian glassware. The word graffito was also used (see also VETRI PIUMATI and A PETTINE) and then abandoned.
FERRO DA BÀTTER – simple fiat iron bar about 30 cm. in length with a handgrip at one end. It is tapped on thè glass piece or onto thè pipe causing a vibration which helps shift thè MORSO from thè pipes or punties.
FIGÀ (ciapàr el fìgà) – A Murano slang term referring to a defect in thè red colour (obtained with cadmium and selenium minerals) occuring when thè shade obtained, instead of being brilliant and clear is opaque and liver-coloured (fìgà: liver, in Venetian). Literally, ciapar el fìgà means that thè glass has turned thè colour of liver.
FILIGRANA – A refined hot-working technique invented at Murano in thè first half of thelóth century. The complex working of “filigree” blown glass objects requires thè use of crystal rods prepared beforehand and containing vitreous lattimo (milk glass) or coloured threads in smooth or spirai designs. There are various types: reticello or netted filigree, with a delicate thread net inside thè crystal wall; a retortoli, twisted filigree with threads twisted into a spirai pattern (also called zanfirico after thè Venetian antique dealer Antonio Sanquirico, who commissioned numerous copies of antique glass pieces made using this technique in thè first half of thè 19th century). In recent decades, new and originai types of filigree have been invented at Murano. Today, thè decoration which has parallel rods with a straight internai thread worked so that they take on a diagonal slant is called “half filigree”. Towards thè middle of thè lóth century as we are informed by thè MAR1EGOLA DEI FIOLERI, redexello and retortoli glass objects were already being produced. The filigree, or reticello, is obtained using slim glass rods containing threads of opaque, usually white glass. These rods, which are pencil-shaped, are placed side by side on a refractory piate and heated in thè furnace until they melt and incorporate to become a single piece. The “slab “ obtained in this way is then “wrapped” around a cylinder of clear incandescent glass so that only thè internai threads (white or coloured) are visible. The glass is then blown as usuai and various objects (vases, glasses, etc.) modelled. In thè case of thè classic reticello technique, thè operation described ahove is completed in two successive hot-working phases, thè result of which is a criss-cross pattern. Considerable skill and artistic talent are needed to carry out this operation successfully.
FILO – Classic glass decoration which usually comprises a hot application to thè upper rim of a goblet, vase or glass. The rim may vary in thickness and colour (either opaque or transparent) and is purely ornamentai. When thè pattern has ondulations, it is known as MORISE.
FINALE – The penultimate ornamentai detail on a chandelier, often shaped like an upholsterer’s tassle (from which thè work fiocco derives), and attached to thè FINALE with silver thread. The fiocco is sometimes shaped like an olive, a small ball, etc.
FIÒLE – The Venetian name for bottles blown in common glass.
FIOLÈR (FIOLÀRIO) – An archaic (8th century) term referring to thè glassmaker responsible for blowing fiale (hollow blown glass objects).
FORCELLA – The basic tool of thè forcellante, thè person who specializes in annealing glass objects. It is an iron rod approximately three metres long, with a two-pronged fork at one end. The forcellante uses thè tool to “manoeuvre” thè stili-hot glass pieces, which he transfers to thè cooling chamber and positions according to thè annealing requirements.
FORMA – This word was already in use during thè early 15th century and applies to a die which can be opened. The term is stili used today at Murano (cf. STAMPO).
FONDINO – A glass bowl, often decorated with FILI, MORISE and glass flowers, concealing thè hollow metal frame into which thè branches, leaves, flowers and other ornaments which make up a Venetian chandelier are inserted. Below thè fondino are thè PASSASORZE, FINALE and FIOCCO, in that order.
FRITTA – The name given on Murano to thè glass mass produced by thè initial fusion, which was once carried out separately from thè refining process. The two stages are now combined in a single process. Known in French as fritte, in English as frit and in German as fritte, this constitutes thè preliminary calcination of thè silica and flux mixture which later becomes glass.
GAMBO – The stem which may take various forms, supporting thè bowl of a glass and uniting it with thè foot.
GARZONÉTTO – In thè glassmaking hierarehy, thè youngest apprentice, who is given thè simplest and most humble tasks.
GASTALDO – Between thè 13th and 18th centuries, thè leader of thè glassmakers’guild, who acted as representative of thè glassworks’ owners, by whom he was elected each year.
GOBELÉTTO – An Italianized terna (from thè French gobelet and thè English goblet) denoting drinking vessels in generai.
GRAFFITO – See FENICIO
GRANZIÒL1, GRANZIOLÒNI – Glass fragments thè size of coarse cooking salt grains, or fine gravel used to produce special colour effects. Smaller sized granaioli are called MACIE, whilst larger glass fragmets are known as granziolìni.
INCÀLMO – A difficult Murano glassmaking technique. lt consisted of welding together two hot open-sided blown glass objects generally of different colours along their two edges of equal circumference, in order to obtain different colour zones in thè same object.
INCISIONE – Diamond point engraving was introduced to Murano for thè first time by Vincenzo d’Angelo on mirrors in 1534 or 1535, and in 1549 this same Vincenzo obtained a privilegio or patent for engraving mirrors and blown glass with a diamond point. With thè faq:on de Venise, Venetian style glassware, it spread throughout Europe, especially thè Tyrol and thè Netherlands. Engraving with a small wheel of abrasive stone or metal derives from hard stone engraving and was applied with splendid results in Germany and Bohemia during thè 17th century. At thè end of thè same century. it was also introduced to Venice with thè arrivai of thè German engravers.
INCOSSÀ – A word used to denote glass that is not entirely transparent.
INFORNARE (infornamento, caricamento) – This verb refers to thè insertion of thè glass mixture into thè pots in which thè melting process subsequently takes place.
INGHISTÈRA (also GUASTADA or ANGUISTARA or ANGHISTERA) – A kind of long-necked, handleless jug suitable as a recipient for liquids. Globular in shape, it had a conical foot which often protruded into thè base of thè jug itself. Like thè MOIOLI or MUIOLI, it was a mass-produced object of little aesthetic value, manufactured at Murano by “second class” glassmakers called BUFFADOR1. In his dictionary of Venetian dialect, Boeri© defined thè inghistera as “a measure of wine sold in small quantities in thè province of Verona”. The term dates from 1120, and is a combination of angusto (narrow) and a word of Greek origin, gastra.
IMPIRARÈSSA (from impiràr: to string) – Women who in their spare time used to string beads using “fans” of long needles which had narrow threads at one end. The necklaces made in this way were returned to thè bead manufacturer to be sold.
INVERIÀR – This word is used for thè “enamelled” effect thè pots acquire when they are exposed to “glass vapours inside thè lighted furnace.
IRIDE (irisé) – The “rainbow” effect generally obtained by fumigating thè hot object with stannous chloride salts.
LÀTTIMO – Opaque, white “milk” glass, similar in appearance to porcelain. Milk glass suitable for blowing was invented at Murano in thè mid-15th century, with1 thè aim of imitating thè first examples of Chinese porcelain which had just arrived in Europe, where thè secret of its manufacure was stili unknown. The opacifying substance then used was a “compound of lead and tin”. which was later replaced by other elements. It was named “porcelain glass” by Angelo Barovier (15th century)
LEVÀDA (LEVÀR) – A traditional Murano term relating to thè removai of molten glass from thè pot, using thè blow-pipe already Ioaded with thè PEA or PALLINA, in order to obtain a layer of glass. This operation may be repeated several times once thè lower coating of glass has “tempered”, i.e. cooled slightly. In furnace maintenance operations, thè phrase levar or “mettèr pastelli” instead referred to thè increase or reduction in size of thè glory-hole, through thè application of a series of layers of refractory material.
MÀCIE (maciètte, màcie fine) – Glass fragments, usually coloured, which are “wound” around white glass, giving it thè colour of thè fragments (thè word derives from macchia: stain). Maciette, macie fine: fragments of even finer grain.
MAÈSTRO – Maestro (master) is a fairly recent word for thè person in charge of a team of artistic glassmakers, who is responsible for thè running of thè PIAZZA, thè glass production area.
MAGIÒSSO – A sort of hollow semisphere with a handle, this tool (made entirely from wood) is used for rounding off thè PEA and giving it an even shape. It derives from thè French word mailloche (mallet), from whence thè verb magiossàr.
MAISTRÀPA – A glass object of Murano origin, encountered in various inventories, but hard to identify.
MAISTRO DA CANNA – The name once given to thè head of thè team responsible for drawing out thè hot glass cane, thè first stage in thè manufacture of beads. He was also called tiracanna (“cane-drawer”).
MARGARITE – A Venetian word for glass beads. It derives from thè Latin word margaritae and referred to beads made from perforated canes.
MARGARITÈRI – The name given during thè 17th and 18th centuries to glass bead manufacturers. If in addition they produced larger beads, they were also called SUPIALUME.
MARIÉGOLA (also called matricola or capitolare) – A sort of “logbook” or fundamental volume in which thè names of new masters and glassworks owners were entered, together with regole (from whence mariegola: mater regulae) or rules concerning employment, dismissals and all that related to thè glassmakers’ guild. Glassmakers were subject to a statute as a guild or confraternity. The earliest documentary evidence dates from 1271.
MARMORIZZÀR – An operation which consists of taking thè blow- pipe, already Ioaded with PEA, and rolling it along thè BRONZINO to ensure that thè glass will be of even thickness and that, if there is more than one COPERTA (layer), there are well joined together.
MARSOR – MARSORÉTTO – A Renaissance term probably referring to a bowl with a foot.
MEZZA STAMPAÙRA – Half-moulding: a technical artifice consisting of thè application of a glass cap to thè bottom of a glass object stili attached to thè pipe and pressing it into an open mould to obtain ribbing of a certain thickness. This decorative technique was used in Murano glassworks from thè 15th century at least and before that in Roman times.
MOIOLI or MUIOLI – A Veneto term no longer in use which referred to ordinary drinking glasses simple to manufacture and usually made by BUFA DORI.
MORISE, MORISÉTTE – A traditional Murano decoration consisting of an undulating design made by applying a thread of hot glass to a surface and pinching it with BORSELLE DA PISSEGAR. In practical terms, it actually comprises a twist of glass which is placed on thè object being made and fashioned into thè characteristic undulating pattern.
MORSO – The portion of glass attached to thè blow-pipes or punties.
NINFA – NINFETTA – A small pot (containing 30 to 35 kilograms of molten glass. The ninfetta is an even smaller pot, which can hold approximately 12 kilograms of glass.
OCIO – Eye (see BANCO).
OLDÀNO – An archaic term referring to glass pieces that had not been blown.
ORICÀNNO – Perfume jar; an archaic term found in 12th and 13th century documents and old Venetian chronicles.
ORO GRAFFITO – Thin gold leaf applied with glue to thè walls of glass objects which have already been cooled, and then engraved with a pointed tool to obtain a decorative motif. This technique was introduced to Murano in thè second half of thè 15th century and resumed in thè latter half of thè 19th century. This time a more complicaled version of thè technique was revived, one which had been used in Paleochristian glass of thè 3rd and 4th centuries A. D., in which thè engraved gold leaf was imprisoned between two layers of glass.
OSÈLLA – A commemorative medal hearing thè arms of Murano, thè Podestà and thè four Deputies. A limited number of these were coined each year in gold and silver and were offered to thè Doge and other important fìgures. The name osèlla (bird) was a reminder of thè era in which birds were offered as recognition of Murano’s vassalage to Venice.
PACIÒFI – Glassmaker’s tools similar to BORSELLE but terminating in two wooden sticks. They are used for “opening” vases, and whenever thè use of metallic implements might result in thè glass being “scratched”.
PACIOFETI – Smaller than paciòfi, these are used for “opening” delicate objects such as goblets or small vases.
PADÈLLA or PAÈLLA – Pots holding more than 40 kilograms. Reports of Tera de Pathelis -refractory material used for making these pots, date as far back asl280. These pots are also known as vasi fusori in Italian.
PALÀTO (PAELÀTI: PADELLATI) – The largest of all pots used at Murano, approximately 1 metre in diameter and containing around 150 kilograms of molten glass.
PALÉTTA – A wooden spatula used by thè glassmaker whilst working thè glass, to help him shape thè object.
PALLINA – Also called COLLETTO.
PALLÒR – A kind of translucent coating which sometimes appears on glasses and other objects, when inexact proportions of thè ingredients have been used. Another phrase used is el vero spua , i.e. thè glass spits out .
PAPAÒR – A small glass cylinder often with a small bobeche beneath it, into which candles can be inserted. It may form part of a candlestick or is found on thè arms of a chandelier.
PASTELO – Refractory material or clay shaped rather like a long sausage and used to reduce thè size of thè glory-hole or to cover up damaged areas on thè exterior of thè melting furnace.
PARAISÒN (leva paraison) A term borrowed from thè French, referring to thè extraction of thè glass and its preparation for blowing. “Leva paraison!” was thè fìrst order given by assistants to start working on thè beads.
PARTÉGOLA (partégolla) or PERTÉGOLA – Long ago this term was given to a long-handled instrument used to “spiumare el vero” i.e. remove impurities which rose to thè surface of thè glass during thè melting process.
PARTIA – A term deriving from thè word partita (division). In Murano it refers to thè recipes used in preparing different types of glass, giving thè quantities of thè various ingredients, together with instructions for their usage and for melting. The ìlibreto de le partìeT (recipe book) was often handed down from father to son and jealously guarded to prevent rivals from copying techniques and colours.
PASSASÓRSE – In Venetian slang, a space large enough for a mouse to pass through. A spool-like glass cylinder, narrowed slightly towards thè centre and serving as a divider between thè FINALE and thè FONDINO
PATERNOSTRI – The name given by Venetians to rosary beads, which were often made in glass in thè same way as CONTER1E. The craftsmen who made these beads were called PATERNOSTRÈRI.
PÈA – Also called PALLINA. The fìrst stage in thè making of all hollow glass objects. The word originates from PERA, for thè blob of glass referred to is pearshaped. Once attached to thè blow-pipe thè pea is rolled (MARMORIZZATA) and rounded (MAGIOSSATA) as required.
PIAZZA – At Murano this term refers to thè working team (from four to eight persons) and all that is needed in order to produce an object. The piazza forms thè basic production unit. Completely independent, it is capable of making an entire piece from start to finish. The head of thè piazza is thè MAESTRO to whom a considerable amount of responsibility (and authority) is given by thè glassworks’ management.
PIE – i piede) “Foot”: thè trumpet-shaped lower part of a drinking glass, which gives height to thè bowl.
PITTURA A SMALTI – Enamel painting: painting of thè walls of glass vases which have already been fìnished in thè furnace, with enamels, that is coloured substances essentially composed of powdered glass mixed into a paste using a fatty substance. Once, in order to melt thè wall of thè vase and thè enamel into a single mass, making thè enamel indelible, thè painted object was re-attached to thè punty and returned to thè heat source. Nowadays, it is placed in an annealing furnace, since thè enamels can melt at a lower temperature, records show that this decorative art was carried out at Murano between thè end of thè 13th century and thè first half of thè 15th century. In subsequent centuries it met with varying popularity and is stili practised today.
PIUMÀT1 – Glassware with special decorative details, also described as A PETTINE or A PENNE, GRAFFITO and FENICIO. This ornamentation of ancient origin was favoured by thè Romans and, from thè 16th century, by thè Venetians.
PONTELLO – Solid iron rods, approximately 140 cm. long and from IO to 30 mm in diameter, onto which an object is “attached” whilst it is being worked. The Murano term rapidly carne into usage in France (pontil) and in England (punty).
PORTINA – A slab of refractory material, thè same shape and size as thè glory-hole, which it blocks during thè melting process. When placed across thè glory-hole it prevents heat from escaping.
POSO – Living rock also called galtella, and described in old chronicles as “soft rocks taken from thè Verona Quarries, used for constructing thè BANCO of thè glass furnace”. ”Poso stone” is stili used for certain workings.
POTÈ – From a 15th century inventory: a type of tumbler (from thè Latin potere: to drink).
PUNTELLARE – This operation consists of picking up a hot object (e.g. a goblet) with a punty when it has already been ’opened” and thè lower part completed, in order to shape thè upper part. This operation is generally carried out halfway through thè working of thè article.
PULEGÒSO – “Bubbled glass”: semi-opaque or translucent glass with a rough surface and with tiny bubbles obtained by using special ingredients (bicarbonate of soda, petrol). A modern invention, developed during thè 1930s.
RASURA (ROSARA, ROSURA) – An old term referring to a tool used for tending thè furnace.
REÀURO (or REÀVOLO or REÀULO) – An old term for furnace tools.
REBOLÀR – This operation consists of “skimming” thè surface of thè molten glass to remove impurities and other undesirable elements.
RECÈLA, – A glass ”button-hole”, modelled whilst thè glass is hot, from which tassels, pendants and other ornamentai glass objects are suspended.
REDEXÈLLO – From information given in thè MARIEGOLA (statute of thè glassmakers’ guild), we know that towards thè middle of thè lóth century, fine blown glass pieces a redexello (so called because thè pattern is similar to that of a fisherman’s rete or net) were being produced on thè island. Perhaps thè idea for this technique really did spring from these nets, a familiar sight to a seafaring people like thè Venetians. The glass is made in thè same way as filigrana, with rounded canes which contain a white opaque thread being twisted in opposite directions. In a diffcult and risky process, carried out whilst thè glass is being hot-worked, thè threads become ”crossed” The shapes to which this technique is applied are extremety simple. Glass lovers can therefore give their full attention to thè remarkable qualities of this ”woven glass” without being distracted by complicated forms.
RETÒRTOLI – An old term referring to thè canes used for ZANFIRICO or FILIGRANA.
RIGADIN – Thin ribbing obtained by blowing a glass object inside an open die. The piece can also be twisted whilst stili hot to produce rigadin ritorto or twisted ribbing.
ROCCA or ROCCHETTA – This was thè tool used instead of thè punty to support a glass piece worked at thè master’s bench, after having removed it from thè pipe used for blowing. It comprised a fairy long iron rod, one end shaped in such a way that thè glass could be held and then easily released when modelling had been completed. In old documents thè rocca is defined in Latin as ”INSTRUMENTUM QUO IN CONFLAND1S VASIS URINARIIS UTUNTUR”.
ROSETTE – Another word for MILLEFIORI, tiny fragments of round canes often multicoloured and with different patterns.
ROSSO RUBINO – Ruby red, especially loved by thè Murano glassmakers and produced by using a gold solution as a colouring agent. The date and place of thè invention of this precious type of glass are contested, but thè secret of its production was known at Murano in thè second half of thè 14th century, as we know from a recipe manuscript stili preserved today. In thè past (1536c.) it was also called rosenghiero (rosei clari coloris, cf. Gianbattista della Porta of Naples in his Magia Naturale of 1589).
RULLI – Known in Venetian as rùi, these were fiat discs of glass used for Windows in thè late Middle Ages and thè Renaissance. During thè 19th century they were made at Murano in polichromatic filigree, for ornamentai purposes and using bright colours. They were also called modi (1405) or ruoi (1417) and vessighette.
SAPONE DEI VETRAI – “Glassmakers’ soap”, as manganese dioxide was popularly known, due to its decolouring properties.
SBR1NDOLÀR – This operation consists of rotating thè blow-pipe loaded with PEA at thè speed required. The effect of rotating and spinning thè glass whilst it is stili soft is such that it expands to thè length desired by thè glassmaker.
SCAGNÉR – An old term referring to thè glassmaker who created artistic glass, as opposed to thè MAISTRO DA CANNA, who specialized in making beads or CONTER1E.
SCAGNO – The glass master’s bench. A simple wooden bench with two parallel bars. The glassmaker rests thè blow-pipe on thè bench and, rotating it backwards and forwards, performs a kind of ”horizontal lathing” movement which ailows thè glass object being made to be evenly shaped.
SCHIETTO – The name given in a number of old Murano inventories to a glass object that was transparent or coloured, but neither decorated nor engraved.
SCORSAÒR – A long, heavy iron rod, slightly curved at one end and used to scorsar, that is, to clean out thè pots.
SERAÙRO – The name given long ago to thè covered areas where thè melting process took place.
SERVA – An iron tripod supporting a fiat, horizontal sheet of metal on which thè rear parts of thè pipes CANNE, SPEI and PUNTELLI are laid whilst thè front section is being exposed to thè heat source.
SERVENTE – In rhe hierarchy of thè PIAZZA or artistic glassmaking team, this is thè master’s chief assistant with whom he directly works. He carries out tasks requiring considerable technical skill and artistry and is capable of substituting thè master at times.
SERVENTÌN – In thè Murano glassmaking hierarchy, thè third in command in thè PIAZZA (coming behind thè master and thè SERVENTE). A young apprentice who is already fairly experienced and who is capable of performing tasks requiring acertain degree of skill.
SIÀMBOLA – Cailed ZEMBOLA in early times, this refers to a finishing detail which resembles thè SIELA but is larger. It may be cavàda, i.e. directly obtained from part of thè glass object being made, or else butàda, i.e. added to it.
SIÈLA – A small narrow piece of glass used to separate one glass section from another; similar to thè AVOLIO.
SILIÈRA DE LUME – A 15th century term applied to an open box with side bars, filled with soda flux. SIVIÈRA or SOLIÈRA (in Venetian: barrow).
SPIGNAÙRO or SPIANAÙRO or SPIAGNAÙRO – A Murano term relating to thè direct introduction of a colourant to thè vitreous mass during thè melting process. During thè early 14th century thè word also applied to a tool used in thè CALCHERÀ.
SPÈI – In Italiani, spiedi (spits or skewers). Narrow, solid blow-pipes approximately 150 cm. in length with a diameter varying from 8 to 12 mm. Together with punties (of larger diameter) and blow-pipes, these constitute thè Murano glassmaker’s basic work tools.
SPUNCIÒN – A simple iron bar about 30 cm. in length and 2 cm. in diameter, used in thè initial stages of shaping a glass object.
STAMPO – A hollow iron mould, originally made of bronze, into which thè PEA is blown in order to expand and be given its shape. Various types of moulds are used and may have ribbing patterns or vertical grooves, thè BALLOTTON relief effect, or sérci (horizontal rings). The mould is said to be a fermo when thè type of internai ribbing it contains does not allow thè PEA to be ”turned” inside it.
STAMPÉTO A FRAGOLA – The ”strawberry die” is similar to thè STAMPETO A GEMMA, although thè final effect rather more closely resembles a rasp- berry than a strawberry. Also used as a small decorative dye.
STAMPÉTO A GEMMA – A small, concave circular die impressed like a seal onto molten glass in order to obtain small semicircular decorations – gemme (jewels).
STAZIONARI – Between thè lóth and 18th centuries, thè name given to thè persons responsible for thè selling of glassware.
STIZADÒR – A workman, often of humble extraction, also cailed furlan (friulano: native of Friuli, a nearby region), who was responsible for looking after thè furnace and was sometimes also in charge of annealing. If thè stizadòr worked at night he was also cailed furlàn de note. Being prevented by law from practising thè glassmaking art, foresti (persons who were not of Murano origin) had to content themselves with thè meaner tasks. The workers from Friuli were particularly industrious, hence this title.
SUPPIALÙME – A Murano term referring to giassmakers who used thè lamp technique. Through ”blowing” air onto thè flame of thè lamp, its heat was increased. They produced large beads and CONTER1E. This art was in existence from thè 1 óth century.
SUPIÈTO – A conical iron instrument inside which a small rod, also made of iron, is welded. It is used for ’emergency” blowing, when thè object is no longer attached to thè blow-pipe.
TAGIÒL – A glassmaker’s tool shaped like a square-bladed knife and used to shape thè object during thè working of glass.
TAGIÀNTI or TAIÀNTI – A traditional Venetian word meaning scissors, which were used to tagliare or cut glass in thè initial stages of its working. A variation is TAGIANTE TONDO (“round scissors”) used for special cuts.
TEMPERA – An incorrectly used Murano word, indicating thè annealing of glass, or else referring to thè furnace in which this operation takes place.
TIPÉTTO – 19th century Murano slang applied to goblets or vases with a base, on which thè stem took thè form of a stylized dolphin or swan.
A TORCÉLO, A TORSÈLLO – A special method of colouring glass A SPIGNAÙRO by means of a tociada. Using thè tongs cailed BORSELLE DA P1SSEGAR, thè glass is wound around thè punty and mixed together to obtain coloured stripes.
VERIXÉLLI – A mediaeval word for glass stones imitating reai gems. At a very early date, their makers joined up with thè guild of PATERNOSTRERI.
VETRO A “CANNE” – A wholly Muranese variation of MURRINE. Here, instead of tiny glass tesserae, thè maker uses canne or rods that are solid and cylindrical, or fiat and similar in dimension to a sheet of lasagna. These are placed next to each other in different colour combinations, melted and then blown into thè form of vases, amphoras and goblets. The effect produced and thè diffìculties involved in this technique make these objects of considerable value.
VETRO A “GHIACCIO” “Ice glass”. – A decoration which consists of appa- rent cracks in thè walls of a blown glass object obtained by submerging thè object in water whilst it is stili hot.
VETRO INCAMICIATO – Also known as SOMMERSO (“submersion” ), this is a decorating technique used to obtain several layers of glass in a single object. The layers are often of different colours, resulting in unusual chromatic effects. Submersion was especially popular during thè 1930s. It is obtained by submerging thè glass, stili attached to thè pipe, in a series of pots containing glass of different colours. Vetro incamiciato usually has thinner layers than vetro sommerso. In France this technique, which is known as DOUBLÉ (doubled glass) was applied with great effect by cutting thè surface and reaching thè glass layer below.
VETRO “MURRINO” (hot-worked mosaic glass) – A term used incorrectly to describe a traditional type of Murano glass that was originally made by glass craftsmen from Alexandria. It consists of a type of hot-worked intarsia or mosaic, that is, small pieces of glass, often shaped ad hoc which are melted in such a way that thè various tesserae join together under fusion. MILLEFIORI, also cailed ROSETTE, are a traditional variation of murrina. A particularly difficult decorative technique, practised during thè Roman era, it was revived at Murano at thè beginning of thè 1880s by Vincenzo Moretti at thè Salviati glass workshop. The MILLEFIORI (thousand flowers). glass mosaic is obtained by juxtaposing sections of glass canes, forming a multicoloured decorative motif in thè centre throughout thè whole length. and fusing them at thè heat source.
V1ANÀRDI – Glass for ordinary use documented in 1405 at Murano, but about which no more specific information is available.
VÒLTA – The word has two meanings: A) thè best process or System of making a glass object, and B) thè upper interior part of traditional Murano ovens (or ’Vault” ).
ZUCCARINI – A lóth – 17th century Murano term referring to jars used for slowpouring liquids.
ZUCHONI – In an antique inventory this term was applied to certain types of crystal canes.
Diego Lazzarini, Rosanna Toso / Vesign Studio – Venice
Diego Lazzarini / Vesign Studio – Venice
Rosa Barovier Mentasti
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