European trade beads history and dating
These sites appeared to be primarily focused on producing glass (from the Greek meaning ‘four-sided’) which were small glass or stone squares used as mosaic tiles for decorative purposes, possibly to be used in local churches or the villas of wealthy noblemen.
This process harks back to far earlier production techniques from the Roman Empire when moulded glass was used to bring light into bathhouses.
A further reference in 1090 mentions a Petrus Flabianicus (or Peter of the Flacons), involved in the same activity.
From this point forward the importation of foreign glasswork into Venice was forbidden and foreign glassmakers were prevented from working in the city.On Murano, as they had done with the Arsenale (the fortified complex of state owned shipyards which at its height occupied some fifteen percent of Venice), the Venetian authorities aimed to guard what was now seen as a vital industry by keeping it in isolation – albeit in a gilded cage.Incentives and conditions for employees were regulated by the Guild setup to control the glass making industry.This influx of techniques was to be repeated again in 1453 when Constantinople fell to the Ottomans.
Political and commercial expediency then played an important part in ensuring that these techniques were retained within Venice and production was regulated to maintain a competitive advantage.Several centuries were to pass before the artisans of the Venetian area embarked on what was to become a fully-fledged and unique period of decorative glass production, evolving over time to reach world renown and for a period a virtual monopoly industry in Europe.