Stained glass is a type of glazing material that is coloured (stained), either by the addition of metallic salts during the manufacturing process, or by having colour applied to its surface and then being fired in a kiln to fuse the colour to the glass.
Stained glass can be used for a wide range of purposes, but it is most commonly found in flat panels in windows. Stained glass windows typically comprise small pieces of coloured glass held in place by a latticed web of lead strips formed within a rigid frame. The pieces are often arranged to create patterns or pictorial representations, often depicting religious iconography.
Stained glass windows are commonly associated with cathedrals, churches, mosques and other important buildings such as libraries and town halls. In England, the use of simple stained glass windows dates back to the 7th century, and by the 12th century they had become a sophisticated art form. However, following the Reformation in the 16th century, when sacred art began to decline in prominence, the craft of manufacturing stained glass began to dwindle.
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