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Spectacles, cased, Chinese, 1850-1930

Spectacles may have been used in China as early as the 1100s. The arms of these Chinese steel spectacles are double folding. This means they can circle much of the head. The case is made from a material called shagreen. This is either the rough skin of certain sharks or rays, or rough leather made from certain animal hides. Shagreen is naturally grey. However, it is often coloured red or, in this case, green.

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Glossary: ophthalmology

The branch of medicine dealing with the diseases and surgery of the visual pathways (usually the eyes or the brain).

Glossary: spectacles

Pair of eyeglasses to compensate for defective vision or to protect the eyes from light, dust, and the like. Kept in place by sidepieces passing over the ears, on the nose or held in the hand.

Glossary: optometry

The professional practice of eye and vision care. Optometry includes the correction of visual defects with lenses or glasses.

Glossary: spectacle case

case for spectacles