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A Murano vase is is crafted in the style that originated on the Venetian island of Murano, though the history of Murano glass begins in Rome in the ninth century. Murano vases come in many different styles, but have a recognizable appearance. This style and history of Murano glass gained international popularity for the vases during the 20th century.
The origin of the Murano vases can be traced to Italy where the art of making glass developed hundreds of years ago. Glass making in Italy became a revered trade in Venice in the 13th century. During that time, all of the glass foundries were moved to the island of Murano to prevent fires from spreading to the rest of Venice's wooden buildings. Murano glass continued to be produced on the island and has become its own art form over the centuries.
Typically made of hand-blown glass, a Murano vase is made using the lampworking technique. This technique uses silica, softened by heating to a high temperature, to form the glass. The artisan creating the Murano vase uses tools and a great deal of skill to mold the softened material into any number of shapes and designs. Some vases have delicate ornamentation, such as curving ropes, butterflies, or patterns of circles, attached to the outside. Sometimes designs are created within the glass itself using different colors or even bubbles.
Often, a Murano vase is wide at the bottom and curves upward into an artistic shape. The vases are often made using the sommerso technique, which involves dipping the vase into molten glass to create layers of color. This is often done with two contrasting colors, but can be done in many different ways, including the use of just one color or several additional colors. The outer casing of the vase is usually a layer of clear glass that surrounds the colorful inside.
Murano vases became a popular collectible item during the 1950s and 1960s. Mass production of the vases was done in Murano, and many of them were exported to other countries or sold to tourists visiting the area. There are artisans that create Murano style glass and vases outside of the actual area, but true Murano vases are typically understood to come from the island of Murano.
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