Wishing you all the best for a Happy New Year!
And about that champagne glass…
I seem to have a thing for miniatures. I marvel at the craftsmanship of creating tiny versions of larger pieces, which requires more time and skill, as well as good eyesight and nimble fingers. When I was at a street market in Egypt many years ago, I saw hundreds of lanterns made of tin and painted glass. One vendor had minuscule working lanterns, no more than 3 inches, which held tiny birthday cake candles. Even though they were a fraction of the size of the other lanterns, they were the same price and took just as long to make, if not longer.
So you can imagine how I was doubly thrilled when I found this miniature porcelain dollhouse snuff bottle with an inventive repair. It was made in China during the Kangxi period (1662-1722), has blue underglaze decoration of figures, and measures 2.75 inches tall. But there’s more to the story, as this bottle started its life as a vase. Well over 150 years ago, after its neck broke off, a silversmith added a silver collar with etched decoration, cork, and a top attached to a spoon, transforming the broken vase into a functional snuff bottle. It has a sword shaped Dutch hallmark dating the repair to the mid-1800s.
I now have five tiny Chinese dollhouse miniatures in my collection and try not to inhale too deeply around them.
This pair of miniature vases with similar form and decoration show what the original neck on my vase looked like before it was transformed into a snuff bottle.
Photo courtesy of Santos
Veering away from my more typical posts showcasing inventive repairs on ceramics and glass, today I am featuring the art of a mended paper box. Before the invention of masking and Scotch tapes, damaged paper products were repaired using strips of thin fabric, patching with paper, and mending with thread. I have long admired the unintentional artistry created by patterns made by tiny stitches used to repair torn pages in a book.
This small green paper box, most likely made in New England in the late 1800s, measures 4.75 inches by 4.25 inches and is 1.75 inches tall. It seems the entire box fell apart and rather than tossing it into a roaring fire, someone quite cleverly stitched up every edge, giving it a unique folksy look.
This bone china Bute shape tea cup is decorated with two-tone blue flowers, puce tendrils, gilt foliage and bands. Measuring 2.25 inches high with an opening of 3.25 inches, it was made by Minton in Stoke-upon-Trent, Staffordshire, England, in the early 1800s. The Minton mark and pattern number 76 is handwritten in blue on the underside.
When this delicate cup slipped from the hands of a previous owner, unusual symmetrical breaks resulted. It was most likely reassembled by an itinerant china mender in the 1800s who used nine brass staples to put the four porcelain puzzle pieces back in place. The integration of the staples, along with the existing floral motif, create an unexpected and exciting new pattern.
This tea cup with matching saucer is shown without staples.
Photo courtesy of WorthPoint