Welcome to ATG MUSEUM.

We present you to part of our art works which have been passed down from ancient times.
Please kindly enjoy the unique quaint works and feel the history of its beauty. 

Pâte de verre A Lost Technique from Thousands of Years Ago that IWAKI Has Recreated At ATG MUSEUM, we are pleased to introduce some of the traditional art and craft pieces passed down within Iwaki Glass Manufacturing (today AGC TECHNO GLASS Co., Ltd.) from long ago, with a particular focus on works of pâte de verre produced by the Iwaki Glass Crafts Department.

Pâte de verre (“paste of glass” in English) is a kind of glass art which is said to have been named after either its appearance or production method.

It is a type of glass casting in which clay or plaster is used to make a mold, and this is then used to form the basis for a mold made from fireproof plaster. This is filled with a mixture of various colored glass powders and glue, and fired in a kiln. After the mold has been slowly cooled down over a long period of time, the glass is removed and polished.

A feature of this glass casting is that it is possible to freely mix the fineness of the glass particles, different colors, and densities, etc., to match a desired outcome. These colors permeate into the interior and become even richer which gives it visual characteristics that can’t be achieved with normal glass products.
It is possible to create artworks of high artistic value by making full use of a rich array of colors and having the freedom to shape art as one wishes. In addition, it is said that the resulting artwork produced using this technique is very valuable and represents the pinnacle of glass craftsmanship because it is technically extremely delicate and involves complex processes.

The origin of pâte de verre dates back to the ancient past when Mesopotamian civilizations were flourishing. The technique of firing a mold filled with glass powder or fragments was the primary production method for glass until the era of the Roman Empire when blown glass was invented, but it disappeared with the collapse of the Roman Empire, and so it is known as a lost technique.

About 2,000 years later, Henri Cros (1840-1907), a French sculptor and painter, became fascinated by the manufacturing techniques of Roman artworks that were at the Louvre Museum, and after a lot of research over a number of years he succeeded in creating his own artworks. It is said that this was the beginning of modern pâte de verre. Pâte de verre gained attention together with Art Nouveau, which was the trend at the time, and many artists were inspired by the art of Henry Cros and tried to develop their own versions. This led to the appearance of great artists such as François Décorchemont, Victor Amalric Walter, and Gabriel Argy-Rousseau, who established a golden age for French pâte de verre. Consequently, a large number of artworks were created using the lost technique.

In Japan, Saburosuke Okada (1869-1939), a Western-style painter, and Ichiga Numata (1873-1954), a ceramic sculptor, who both had studied in France during the Art Nouveau era, wanted to recreate this technique after they returned to Japan, and so they asked the Iwaki Glass Engineering Department for help. The Iwaki Glass Engineering Department succeeded in creating the first artwork in Japan using this unique technique after years of painstaking research. It is said that this achievement opened a new chapter in the glass industry.

Today, this technique is almost lost to us, but the artworks that were made at the time still welcome visitors with a peaceful radiance.
The artworks on display here carry the thoughts of artists from past eras, and without doubt one can feel the history of their beauty while enjoying their rich colors and glossy brilliance.

Source: 2000 Years of Japanese Glass: From the Yayoi Period to the Present Day (Suntory Museum of Art) and A HISTORY OF GLASS IN JAPAN (Glass Manufacturers' Association of Japan)

 Iwaki Glass Manufacturing (today AGC TECHNO GLASS Co., Ltd.), was founded by Takijiro Iwaki and not only did this company produce a wide range of products, including optical glass, it was also one that was enthusiastic about producing artistic works.
These are the works of Iwaki Glass Crafts Department artists, Sotoichi Koshiba (1901-1973), Yuhei Ogawa (1885-1945), and Yuzo Shimizu (1895-1986) that saw the successful creation of Japan’s first pâte de verre artworks.
As the glass contains a lot of air bubbles, it has a translucent exterior, and its overall finish imparts a unique appearance which is both calm and deep. They are artworks which can be enjoyed for their soft, rich colors, and their lustrous and beautiful elegance.

Some of these artworks were exhibited at the Suntory Museum of Art in 1999 and at the National Museum of Nature and Science in 2007 due to a great appreciation for their artistry.
 These are artworks by glass artists in the Art Nouveau era.
Due to the technique by which they were made, such as the development of the colors by mixing metal oxide with colored glass powder, when light shines through them, one can see beautiful soft colors. They are artworks which can be enjoyed for their natural shapes and warm characteristics.

These artworks were purchased by the Iwaki Glass Crafts Department in order to study the pâte de verre glass casting technique.
These products were mass-produced by Iwaki Glass Co., Ltd. from the 1940s to the 1960s.
This glassware characteristically features design with texture.
Years of experience and research led to refinements in the company's unique high carving techniques (engraving for the purpose of making patterns stand out), and the beauty of these products evokes deep light from the bottom of the glass.
The range includes hues such as colorless, light purple, smoke, pink, sepia, red, and emerald, and every which one of these is brimming with elegance.
The excellent qualities of the glass created using Iwaki Glass's traditional technology produces an elegant effect in combination with excellent design.
We hope you enjoy the beauty of glassware from our past.