Archive for May, 2017

Toy dog with replaced coat, c.1920

Sunday, May 28th, 2017

This humble little fellow, who stands just 3.75 inches high, lost his fur coat long ago. He has tiny glass eyes and was made in China in the 1920s from papier mache covered in flannel. Thanks to an enterprising individual, our canine friend can keep warm again, and be in the height of fashion, with his new snappy coat made from layered pieces of cloth tape.

Thank you Cousin Carol for this fine gift, a welcomed addition to my collection!

Chinese Imari teapot with double repair, c.1720

Sunday, May 21st, 2017

This bullet-form porcelain teapot has it all: good looks, great form, a winning personality, and two different early inventive repairs. It was made in China for export during the Kangxi period (1662-1722) and is decorated with floral sprays in the Japanese Imari palette with bold colors and strong graphics. It measures 4 inches high and 6.5 inches wide from handle to spout.

At some point in its early life, a spoutless teapot was brought to a repairer who made a simple metal replacement spout. Not long after, it was brought back to be fitted for a wicker covered bronze replacement handle. A friend once showed me a similarly shaped teapot that had met such an end. And by merely sealing up the hole left by the missing spout and grinding down the handle terminals, the original owner lost a teapot but gained a sugar bowl. As much as I marvel at the ingenuity of that transformation, I am glad my broken teapot is still a teapot.

This teapot with similar form and decoration shows what the original handle and spout might have looked like on mine.

Photo courtesy of Alain Truong

Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia

Sunday, May 14th, 2017

Before I travel, one of the first things I do is research the local museums, in hope of finding antiques with inventive repairs. As I am currently in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, working on a movie, in my rare time off I have been searching for make-do’s in local museums. Last weekend I finally hit pay dirt.

This past Saturday, I spent a few hours at the spectacular Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia, home to one of the best collections of Islamic decorative arts in the world. Much to my surprise and delight, the museum is filled with many stunning examples of inventive repairs. The wide range includes silver, brass, and wood replacement lids, stems, handles, knobs, and spouts; made in China, Europe, and the Middle East. Strangely, I did not see any examples of staple repair, although I bet some pieces do exist, buried deep within their storage vaults.

Here are some of my favorite pieces and their printed descriptions:

Blue and white porcelain ewer, China and Persia, 17th-19th century.

Blue and white porcelain ewer, Kangxi Period, China, 1662-1722. Blue and white porcelain rosewater sprinkler, Kangxi Period, China, 18th century.

Blue and white porcelain huqqah (sic) base, Qing Dynasty China, late 17th-18th century.

Blue and white porcelain huqqah (sic) base, Kangxi Period, Qing Dynasty, China, 17th century.

Blue and white porcelain rosewater sprinkler, China, c. 17th century.

Blue and white porcelain ewer, Qing Dynasty, China, 18th century.

Engraved brass ewer, Deccan India, 17th-18th century.

Samson pot and cover (Iznik style), France, 19th century.

Underglaze painted vase, Safavid Iran, 17th century.

Underglaze painted ewer, Iran, 17th and 19th century.

Blue and white ewer, Jailing (sic) Period, Ming Dynasty China, late 16th-17th century.

Lalique “Coquilles” glass bowl, c.1900

Friday, May 5th, 2017

This elegant Art Nouveau opaline glass bowl was made by Lalique in France, circa 1900. It is decorated with molded overlapping clam shells in the Coquilles No.2 pattern and measures 8.25 inches in diameter. “R. LALIQUE, FRANCE no. 3201” is etched on the underside.

Most people are amazed when they first encounter staple repairs on ceramics. When they see the same technique applied to glassware, they are stupefied. Click on this entry: Miniature cranberry glass punch cup, c.1890, to see one quarter inch staples holding together a tiny glass cup. It’s hard to imagine how this delicate work was done, let alone how the repairs have remained intact for over 100 years.