Aesthetics in Transparency – Infinite Possibility of Glass Art (Free Admission)
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Aesthetics in Transparency – Infinite Possibility of Glass Art (Free Admission)

Session Information

Number of Sessions
Aesthetics in Transparency – Infinite Possibility of Glass Art
日曆圖案 2021/04/14 09:00 ~ 2021/12/20 18:00

Event Details

The main component of glass is silica sand, which is one of the earliest artificial materials appearing in the history of human civilization. This transparent silicate is rigid, brittle, and fragile. It has excellent ductility and plasticity after being heated and molten.


Hsinchu is an important city of glass craft in Taiwan, which has developed over one hundred years. Glass art has been widely used in various aspects from livelihood, industry to artistic creation. This exhibition has selected the collections from the Glass Museum of Hsinchu City to show exquisite glass art combining local features with aesthetic value in the new era.


■The History of Glass

In the history of human civilization, glass is one of the earliest artificial materials. Originally called “pǒlí” in ancient times, glass is later named “pōlí” with a similar pronunciation. According to the reference in archeology, the objects consisting of primitive glass firstly appeared in Ancient Egypt and West Asia around 3000 B.C. In the East, it could be traced back to the Warring States period when small and colorful dragonfly beads with beautiful patterns appeared.


■Glass in Taiwan

Taiwan’s glass craft originated in the glass industry under Japanese colonial rule, when mainly produced were industrial instruments, medical equipment, and other daily commodities. Afterwards, some resources were branched out from industrial glass gradually to create artistic works with glass. A few people started undertaking a small-scale manufacturing process for decorative glass, which was the beginning of glass craft.


Concerning the features of local industry, Hsinchu is a strategic location for glass craft. In 1920, the Japanese discovered rich silica sand and natural gas in Hsinchu, which are the necessary materials for glass production. The industries related to glass have since rapidly developed in Hsinchu, and its types have also evolved in different times. From living commodities like glassware and lighting bulbs, scientific and industrial instruments, to glass jewelry and craft, the export orders accumulated over decades have brought prosperity to the economy of Taiwan. To emphasize the importance of this craft, glass was approved by the Council for Cultural Affairs (now the Ministry of Culture) as the local feature of Hsinchu City in 1991. Furthermore, traditional glass craftsmanship (hollow forming, solid forming, and wiredrawing forming) has been registered by Hsinchu City Government as the cultural property of Hsinchu City since 2009.


■Glass Craft

Glass is made manually by mixing silica sand with other chemicals such as lime, soda ash, and metal oxide and then heating the mixture in a heat resistant crucible (at 1400℃-1500℃) to make it molten. With beautiful colors and high refractive index, this transparent silicate is rigid, brittle, and fragile.


It is used to dividing glass production into hot-end (hot work) and cold-end (for cold work) processes. The former refers to the processing of molten glass which is undertaken in a crucible at high temperature. It is also called kiln operation, which is the work processed with an electric kiln. The techniques include hand-blowing, mold-blowing, mold-pressing, sand-casting (ramming), lost-wax casting, and heat-forming. The latter refers to the processing of glass material at room temperature. The techniques include solid forming and hollow forming operated with a blowtorch in the process, and the processing of glass, such as cutting, carving, grit blasting, drilling, chamfering, grinding, and polishing.


■The Cultural Heritage of Hsinchu City – “Traditional Glass Craft”

  1. Hollow Forming

A glass tube of high borax content is partly heated to form the exquisite artwork by stretching, twisting, winding, and blowing, for example, Christmas lights, vases, wine glasses, and laboratory instruments.

Growing Gourds – Fortune and Wealth


In this artwork, a hollow borax glass tube with parallel lines and stripes is heated to form different sizes and shapes of gourds, branches, and leaves. A solid borax glass rod is heated to form the structure of the roots connected with branches and leaves.


  1. Solid Forming

A solid glass rod of high borax content is directly heated with a blowtorch to form the glass. However, soda-lime and lead glass rods must be pre-heated before processing in order to prevent the glass from breakage in the flame with high temperature. The rod is held with both hands, the so-called positive (yang) and negative (yin) hands during the process, and it is rotated constantly while being heated to make it soft and easy to stretch. Pliers or other tools are applied to push, pull, fuse, cut, and press to form the glass.


This artwork is made with borax glass rods and soda-lime glass sheets (base).


  1. Wiredrawing Forming

Hard borax glass rods with low heat expansion coefficient are used as the material. The glass rods of various colors are heated and burned with a blowtorch (or a flame thrower) into molten glass, which is then drawn into filaments and fused and formed into the woven surface by continuous stretching and twisting.

The Art of Living

This artwork is made with borax glass rods. Except solid formed handle and spout, the pot body and tea ware are made from wiredrawing glass fibers.



Cooperated with the Cultural Affairs Bureau, Hsinchu City, this exhibition is to show the collections in the Glass Museum of Hsinchu City. The Glass Museum was established in 1999, playing a leading role to activate local glass craft. By organizing a variety of activities and integrating cultural tourism resources, the Museum assists Hsinchu in upgrading its glass industry and developing it to be a city of glass art as a bridge connecting international glass art.


■Data Source

Glass Museum of Hsinchu City

Hsiao, Ming-Tun. (2006) Glass Craft. Cultural Affairs Bureau, Hsinchu City.