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.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

What a dish!

According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, "dish" can refer to "a more or less concave vessel from which food is served" or "an attractive or sexy person." And this bronze beauty is a dish in all senses of the word!  Of dark bronze and creamy onyx, this dishy dame is eight inches tall.  She is beautifully sculpted and cast, from her smiling face to the clinging top that has slipped down to bare one breast. . . . 

. . . . to her ruffled undergarments and dainty bare feet.

Her upper torso lifts off, revealing that her tiered stony skirt is composed of three translucent nested onyx dishes (originally, there were four, but one has dish has disappeared over the decades).  The dishes could have been used for nuts or other nibbles, but I suspect they are more likely a set of fancy ashtrays, as there was a fad for artistic stone and bronze smoking paraphernalia in the early 1900s.

She is signed "Charles Austria."  Beginning in the mid-19th century, Vienna became the center of many foundries and ateliers producing finely crafted artistic bronzes to adorn the homes of those wishing to subtly display their taste and wealth.  I have not been able to find any information regarding "Charles," but the name could refer to the sculptor, the foundry, or perhaps even an exclusive store offering such expensive specialties.

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