Postcard Image

Postcard Image
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.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Brazen Hussies, Part II

This post continues my exploration of bisque belles by Schafer and Vater and their metallic mates.  This beguiling geisha is a bisque flipper by Schafer.  Of excellent sharp bisque, she is 5 inches wide and the caption incised along the hem of her kimono reads "The Yellow Peril."

Flip her over and you discover she has neglected to fasten her very Western knickers, her bare bottom framed by her ruffled petticoats and her legs clad in the black ribbed stockings so favored by Schafer.

Here is the same flipper in bronze.  The modeling is nearly identical to the bisque version, down to the folds in the kimono and the caption along the hem.

She is also a near match underneath, even to the ruffles of the undergarments.  This particular flipper has also been found in copper, aluminum, and other metals, but the casting is often of far lower quality, with many of the details blurred or lost.

Again, the question; which came first, the bisque or the bronze?  Because the bisque versions are so characteristically Schafer, and the metal maidens so closely copy their bisque sisters, I suspect that some foundry used the original Schafer pieces as models for its molds.  I wonder whether this was a partnership between Schafer and a foundry, or pure plagiarism. 

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