Syrian glass and Umayyad lanterns at the Metropolitan Museum in New York

Syrian Umayyad hand blown glass lanterns were produced by the thousands during the 270 years of Mamluk rule of Syria which lasted a few years past 1401 AD. Glass among other crafts like books and textiles were traded from east to west. Jealous Italian antique dealers grew tired of waiting for glass merchandise to supply their European aristocrats and Italian collectors. Breakables proved to be a liability and these shipments by sea began to cut into the seller’s profit margin. To improve the flow of goods and demand the Italians decided to manufacture the vessels themselves locally.

Two Syrian glass blowers defected to Venice and took with them the secret of mass producing glass vessels, table wear, and decorated pinched glass tumblers (drinking glasses that can be traced to Jobar… yes Jobar suburb of Damascus. The Venetians quickly moved the craft to Murano Island "supposedly" to protect the city from Kiln fires during the manufacturing process.  Hiding the secret from the competition helped Italian businesses flourish and influenced the splash everyone visiting Venice still enjoys five centuries later.


Found this book doing research on mine.


Bazaar to Piazza: Islamic Trade and Italian Art, 1300-1600 by Rosamond E. Mack