At first glance (and probably second and third), a collector would not recognize this graceful Japanese lady as a product of Germany, much less by the firm of Galluba and Hofmann. She appears to be a delicate Japanese okimono carving, but she is in fact of porcelain, tinted and decorated to resemble a fine ivory statue. Under her base, this 7.5 inch tall figurine carries a partial stamp of Galluba and Hofmann shield in dark green and is incised "4628." And this beauty is on a beach! She has tucked her skirt up into the wide obi and has tied the ends of the full sleeves together behind her back to protect her elaborately ornamented kimono from the sand and surf as she collects seashells along the shore. Her basket is full of selected shells, and more are molded at her feet.
As the Victorian era passed into the Edwardian and Roaring Twenties, a market developed for bisque and china bawdy novelties and figurines of women in revealing outfits. Although now most of these figurines seem more coy and cute than ribald and risque, in their time they symbolized the casting off of the perceived restraints of the Victorian era.
These little lovelies included bathing beauties, who came clad in swimsuits of real lace or in stylish painted beach wear, as well as mermaids, harem ladies, and nudies, who were meant to wear nothing more than an engaging smile. Also produced were flippers, innocent appearing figurines who reveal a bawdy secret when flipped over, and squirters, figurines that were meant to squirt water out of an appropriate orifice.
Most were manufactured in Germany from the late 1800s through the 1930s, often showing remarkable artistry and imagination, with Japan entering the market during World War I.