Wang Xisan

Wang Xisan

Wang Xisan (born 1938) is probably the best-known modern Chinese painter of inside snuff bottles, his works are highly sought after by collectors world-wide and are in the collections of major museums.

Wang Xisan became enthralled by inside painted bottles (“Nei Hua”) as a child visiting the fairs at the Temple of Heaven in Beijing. Eventually he studied the art with Ye Xiaofeng and Ye Benqi, sons of the late 19th century [...] Click here to continue reading.

The Thomas McCandless Collection

Tom McCandless (1924-2010) My Father’s New Hobby

Our father’s new hobby began to get our attention when, after a long day at work, he started disappearing into the basement in the evenings to scrub dirty old bottles. As three active boys we noticed even more when some of the cleaned up bottles started to appear upstairs and, for the first time, we had to exercise some restraint and try not to bash into these [...] Click here to continue reading.

Demijohn & Carboy Bottles

Demijohn & Carboy Bottles

Demijohns and carboys are large generic glass bottles used for both shipping and selling liquids in bulk. Although the terms are sometimes used interchangeably there is a difference. Demijohns were typically used for wine and spirits while carboys were associated with corrosive liquids like acid or those related to the pharmacy and medical fields. Both types of bottles were most often encased in wicker or wood crates to protect against breakage.

Sormani, Paul – French Furniture Maker

Paul Sormani: Master Cabinetmaker of the 19th Century

Paul Sormani (1817 to 1877), one the most important cabinetmakers of the 19th century, was born in Venice. Having trained as a cabinetmaker, he moved to Paris where he opened his first shop in 1847 specializing in furniture made in the Louis XV and Louis XVI style.

When she decorated her palace, Empress Eugenie, the wife of Emperor Napoleon III, who was particularly fond of [...] Click here to continue reading.

Petit, Jacob – French Porcelain Decorator

Jacob Petit (French, 1796 to 1868)

Jacob Petit was the greatest exponent of innovation in nineteenth century Paris porcelain. A self-taught painter, he launched a modest porcelain manufacturing business in 1830. By 1839 Petit employed about 200 craftsmen and enjoyed great success. His prodigious production included vases, urns, clocks, figures, inkwells and perfume bottles. Of particular interest are the figural veilleuses, or bedside tea warmers, known as personnages. These brightly painted beauties can be [...] Click here to continue reading.

Gutta Percha – definition

Gutta Percha

Gutta percha is defined as a tough plastic substance made from the latex of several Malaysian trees (generally Payena and Palaquium) of the sapodilla family that resembles rubber but contains more resin, and is used especially as insulation and in dentistry.

Vaseline glass

Vaseline Glass

Vaseline glass obtains its distinctive color by adding a small amount of uranium to the glass formula. It usually can be detected with a black light.

Dresden Ornaments

Dresden Christmas Ornaments & Candy Containers

Dresden ornaments often have the look of metal or tin but the base materiel is typically heavy paper or cardstock (non-corrugated cardboard). The paper is machine molded in two opposite halves and joined together at the seams creating a hollow and lightweight ornament suitable for tree hanging.

Ornaments were often designed with a dual purpose in mind for use as a candy container with loops applied for [...] Click here to continue reading.

Tantalus – Definition


A tantalus is a set of decanters contained (typically) within wood or metal framework or glass case allowing the bottles and their contents to be visible yet secured, therefore “tantalizing”. editorial staff

Pietra Dura Definition

Pietra Dura

Pietra dura (also pietre dure) is an Italian phrase, with pietra meaning “stone” and dura meaning “hard” or “durable.” While pietra dura is the preferred term (at least according to The Getty’s Art and Architecture Thesaurus at, the terms micromosaic or Florentine mosaic are occasionally encountered. (Some find “micromosaic” to be a little objectionable, applying only to the “rougher” forms of the art produced for the tourist trade.)

Pietra dura is [...] Click here to continue reading.

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