"Family No. 2"
This week’s featured painting is “Family No. 2” from 2022. It is done with oil on panel, and measures 2 x 5 inches.
I realized recently that I didn’t know anything about this history of marbles.
I assumed that they were old, but didn’t quite realize how old.
The earliest found (so far) was at the site of Mohenjo-Daro in modern Pakistan – at one time a major city of the Indus Valley Civilization… these small stone balls are over 4,600 years old.
Ancient marbles were made of a variety of materials, including clay, stone, and glass.
They were popular in Rome, as mentioned in Ovid’s poem “Nux.” Marbles were also discovered at archeological sites in Mesopotamia and Egypt.
In the medieval period, marbles made their way to Britain, being imported from the Low Countries.
It was during this time that the name “marble” came into use, referring to the small toy balls made from polished fragments of real stone such as marble, agate, alabaster, limestone, and even brass.
In 1503, the town council of Nuremberg, Germany limited the playing of marble games to a specific meadow outside the town.
Modern mass production methods came into use in the late 19th century, with the first machine-made glass marbles being produced in Akron, Ohio in 1903.
I’ve built up a fairly large collection of these in my studio over the years. None of them are old or valuable, but many of them are very beautiful, and I love painting them.