This smiling and scantily clad sultry sultana perched on a powder box is marked underneath in red “Editions Etling Paris” inside an inverted triangle. In 1909, Edmond Laurent Etling opened his specialty store in Paris at No. 29 Rue de Paradis, offering the most exquisite and exclusive objects d'art of bronze, ceramic, and glass. The shop was stocked with the creations of the leaders in the French modern art movement, including Dimitri Chiparus, A. Godard, Claire-Jean Roberte Colinet, Lucille Sevin, Jean Theodore Delabassé, Gazan, Georges Béal, Maurice Guiraud-Rivière and Marcel Guillard. Etling's elegant editions spearheaded a style that would become known as art deco. After Paris fell to the Germans during World War II, the store was closed and Etling, who was Jewish, was sent to a concentration camp and his death.
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.