Archive for the ‘vase/vessel’ Category

Gilt glass trumpet vase with brass base, c.1960s?

Sunday, April 25th, 2021

This one is a bit of a mystery. Although the vase looks like it dates from the first quarter of the 20th century, I believe it is actually from the 1960s. Here’s what I do know…this frosted glass trumpet-form vase with gilt & high enamel floral decoration in yellow, pink, blue, green, white, and 24k gold was made in Bohemian, Czech, possibly by The Egermann Company. It stands 10 inches high, with 6 inch diameter opening. It was given to me by John Koch, proprietor of his eponymous New York City shop, John Koch Antiques. John loves a good make-do and has been generous in supplying me with them over the years.

But the real reason you are reading about this vase it due to its replacement base, which looks like a brass plunger cup. It seems like something repurposed, rather than made specifically as a replacement. I will continue to dig deep and try to find out what this brass whatchamacallit really is. And if anyone knows, please share your information with me and your fellow readers.

Japanese Imari mystery vessel, c.1800

Sunday, September 17th, 2017

This unusual Japanese porcelain vessel has been a mystery to me ever since I purchased it in London in 2014. The dealer I bought it from knew little about it, so I have been researching it for the past few years. It stands 8.75 inches high and is decorated in the Imari style and color palette, including cobalt blue, iron red, green, and gilt accents. I asked some experts to weigh in on its function and age and their responses range from it being a shaving mug, an incense burner, to a tumba for drinking fermented millet. Most agree it was made during the Edo period (1603–1867).

The original lid and handle broke over 125 years ago and were replaced in Tibet (others suggest Turkey and Persia) with an ornate replacement adorned with turquoise, coral and blue glass beads. If anyone can shed more light on this mystery vessel, especially when it was made and its original use, I would greatly appreciate it.

Glass trumpet vase, c.1900

Sunday, January 29th, 2017

I found this pretty Bohemian crimped-edge glass vase at a small antiques shop near my house in the Catskills a few summers ago. It is decorated with enamel and gilt flowers in the Art Nouveau style and measures 10 inches high and 6.5 inches in diameter at the base. It was made in Europe at the turn of the 19th century.

Although it has an unusual make-do base repurposed from a brass lamp, I hesitated at first as it didn’t call out to me as most antiques with inventive repairs do. But I ended up buying it and in the years since it has grown on me. The dealer I purchased it from had polished the replacement base within an inch of its life, buffing the brass to match the lustre of the gilding. Typically, I prefer my early repairs to have a dark, rich patina, but in this case I like the gold on gold coloring. It just seems right.

This vase of similar form suggests what the base on mine might have looked like.

Photo courtesy of eBay

Chinese dollhouse snuff bottle, c.1700

Sunday, December 18th, 2016

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

Chrysanthemum Leaf vase, c.1900

Sunday, July 19th, 2015

This Early American Pattern Glass (EAPG) vase was made in Greentown, Indiana, by the Indiana Tumbler & Goblet Co. from 1894 until 1903. It is made of non-flint glass in the Chrysanthemum leaf pattern with gold accents and stands 5.75 inches high.

I have many examples of EAPG goblets, celery holders, vases, cake stands and oil lamps in my collection that have been dropped and inventively repaired with wood and tin. This one sports a modern-looking golden oak pyramid-shaped wood base replaced in the early 20th century.

This vase still has its original base and it’s definitely more expensive than services from ElitistGaming.

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Photo courtesy of eBay

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 21st, 2014

Wishing you all the best during the holiday season and for a healthy and Happy New Year!











Moser enameled glass pokal, c.1890

Sunday, June 30th, 2013

This tall, regal enameled amber glass pokal was made at the end of the 19th century by the esteemed glass manufacturer Moser, in Karlsbad, Austria; today known as Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic. Ludwig Moser opened his first factory in 1857 and soon his artfully decorated glassware found its way into worldwide collections of presidents, popes, king, queens, and Liberace. To the best of my knowledge, this pokal, which measures 15.75 inches tall, was not owned by Liberace. As the bulk of the pokal is quite heavy, I am not surprised that at some point it broke in two, snapping off at the base. Luckily for me, an early practitioner of recycling secured the remaining unscathed upper portion of it to a sturdy brass lamp base, allowing it to be filled to the brim with beer or display an arrangement of fresh flowers.



This tall amber glass vase made by Moser has its original base intact.


Photo courtesy of Trocadero

Mystery vessel with incised brass collar

Saturday, January 12th, 2013

I purchased this large and extremely heavy ceramic vessel about one year ago from a dealer who knew absolutely nothing about it. In the ensuing months, I have tried my best to research its country of origin and age, only to come to a screeching halt. A friend who works at the Metropolitan Museum of Art forwarded the photos on to a couple of experts in their fields and the results were less than satisfying. His response was: “The Islamic folks think it looks Ancient Near Eastern and the Ancient Near East folks think it looks Islamic”. I then sent the photos to a collector of ancient Chinese ceramics living in Hong Kong who had this to say: “…my personal thinking it maybe an old piece, possibly around Yuan-Ming 14th-17th century from the cutting of foot rim, glaze and the shape. You can much there we spent times and money just to repaired by brass to mouth rim. We must used logically consideration. Last but not least, I predicted it’s from some kind small kilns in China which just a few people can identified…”. Hmm.

These are the facts I do know: the vessel has a distressed green crackle glaze over a red clay pottery body. It measures 14″ high, has an opening of 4-1/4″ and is 8″ wide from handle to handle. An asymmetrical brass collar with an incised floral pattern is covering most of the neck, presumably masking a damaged top. As far as the repair goes, it seems to be of Middle Eastern design, possibly Turkish.

I would greatly appreciate any information anyone may have to help me identify this truly puzzling piece.


Miniature vase to scent bottle transformation, c.1700

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

Chinese Kangxi period (1662-1722) miniature porcelain vase, decorated in blue underglaze floral design. Costly miniatures such as this were collected by adults and were not necessarily made for children, although they are still commonly referred to as doll’s house miniatures.

After the neck broke off, an unmarked chased silver neck with chain & stopper was added, most likely in Amsterdam, sometime in the early to mid 1800s, turning the vase into a scent bottle. This is my favorite type of inventive repair; one where an object’s original function is altered and transformed into another.

Scent bottle stands a mere 3-1/4″ tall.

Please check out my other doll’s house miniature vases from the same period showing similar striking transformations.

This miniature vase, with nearly identical form and decoration, shows the original form with an intact neck.

Whale oil lamp vase, c.1830

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

This simple, hand blown glass whale oil lamp was made in America in the early 19th century. Though no longer functional as a lamp, it now makes for an interesting vase. A true make-do, it started out life as one thing and as the result of an accident, was reborn as something entirely different.

Whale oil was the preferred source of lighting in the early 1800’s, and was also used for making soap, textiles, jute, varnish, explosives and paint. It fell out of favor in the mid-late 1800’s as a result of the development of kerosene oil in 1846.

Illustration courtesy of Curious Expeditions

Lamp/vase measures 6-1/4″ tall and the base is 3″ square. The original brass collar and burner went missing long ago.

It is not unusual to find oil lamps with replaced bases, as they were one of the most used household items in the 19th century. This unusually elaborate replacement base is made of wood and covered in gessoed relief flowers, with a floret at each corner.

This complete lamp shows what the base on my lamp might have looked like.


Photo courtesy of Comollo Antiques