Murano Glass, Traditions

Murrine, an ancient technique with magical colors.

Murano glass vases crafted with Murrine technique are some of the finest in the world. Coloured, lively, eye-catching, these artistic creations are the result of long and complicated work by skilled master glassmakers, keepers of an ancient knowledge handed down from one generation to the next from the earliest times.

What is the story of this ancient art?

The Murrine technique seems to be originally from Alexandria (I a.C- I d.C.). It is said that, in 61 b.C, Pompeo was in the possession of some murrino glass vases from the aegyptian city, known as “murrha”. However, the origin of this art goes back to Phoenician craftsmenship: with geometric pattern glass rods the phoenician masters molded the vases, intended for the preserving of perfumes such as myrrh, from which those vases took their name.

The ancient art of murrino vases fell into disuse during the Middle Ages. However in the XV century, the unparalleled master glassmakers in Murano rediscovered and revisited it by introducing the custom of melt sections of canna rosetta, characterised by concentric glass layers of different colours. The technique was then refined and revived in the second half of the nineteenth century, when, during the most difficult period in their history, master glassmakers decided to overcome the crisis by reviving this ancient adapting it to the fashion of the times.

The ancient technique consisted in laying small glass pieces of various colours and shapes prepared beforehand on a slab when cold, following a certain design. These glass pieces were then gradually heated so as to obtained a multicoloured mosaic. The novelty introduced by the nineteenth-century masters was the millefiori rods, made of concentric glass layers of various colours crafted together with a star-shaped or flower-shaped mould. When it had cooled down, the rod was cut into cylindrical segments, i.e. the Murrine, which were then added to the glassmaking process.

The resumed technique is still today considered one of the most beautiful and complex in the venetian glass art, capable of giving birth to extraordinary artworks.

With the same techniques, master glassmakers by VDA Borella crafted some of the most beloved works among our collections, such as Torete vase and Abazia goblet. Their lively colours are enhanced by the shades of stabilised roses compositions, from the gaudiest to the softest, according to the required effect.

Discover now our Murano glass and stabilised roses creations: bring home the very crafts of Venice.