The Sarcophagus in Decorative Arts

The Sarcophagus in Decorative Arts

Derived from the Greek sarx, meaning flesh, and phagein, meaning eat, a sarcophagus is, essentially, a container for a body, much like a coffin or casket. Historically, sarcophagi were typically made of stone (though sometimes of other materials, such as wood or metal), with a relief-carved or pediment top, and designed to be above ground, and have been used by many cultures since ancient times.

An ancient [...] Click here to continue reading.


Cartouche – Definition

Cartouche – Definition

The decorative arts world has many “squishy” and vague vocabulary words, but few are “squishier” and vaguer than cartouche. Originally, the term comes from Egyptology and is used to describe a oval enclosing hieroglyphics and having a horizontal line at one end. (The line denotes royalty.) The oval had significance not unlike that of a closed circle, in that it was believed that an oval around a person’s name provided protection [...] Click here to continue reading.


Tagua – definition

Tagua Nuts

Tagua nuts are the endosperm of a genus of South American palm trees that are found from Panama down through Bolivia and Peru. Tagua nuts, or more accurately, the kernels of tagua seeds, are left behind by the wildlife that feed on the palm’s fruit. The group of palms is often referred to as “tagua palms” or “ivory-nut palms,” because tagua nuts are so hard, they resemble elephant ivory. (In fact, the [...] Click here to continue reading.


Bakelite

Bakelite

Scandal & the Story of Bakelite Bakelite hit the market in 1907, heralding the arrival of the modern plastics industry. Bakelite was the first completely man made plastic, as until then, plastics such as celluloid, casein, and Gutta-Percha all had as a base a natural material. It was developed by Belgian-born chemist Dr. Leo Hendrick Baekeland who started his firm General Bakelite Company to produce the phenolic resin type plastic. Bakelite was inexpensive [...] Click here to continue reading.


Vermeil – definition

Vermeil

“Vermeil” is a French word co-opted by the English in the 19th century for a silver gilt process. Vermeil is a combination of silver and gold, although other precious metals are also occasionally added, that is then gilded onto a sterling silver object. The reddish (vermilion) hue of the addition of the gold gives the product its name. Vermeil is commonly found in jewelry, and a standard of quality (10 karat gold) and [...] Click here to continue reading.


Estate of Peter L. Rosenberg of Vallin Galleries – Skinner 3-18-2014 Prov Note

Estate of Peter L. Rosenberg of Vallin Galleries, Wilton Connecticut

Discerning collectors, dealers, and museum curators of Asian art regularly made pilgrimages to a charming 18th century saltbox home in Wilton, Connecticut: Vallin Galleries. Owned and operated by Peter L. Rosenberg for nearly thirty years until his sudden death in December of 2013, Vallin Galleries was widely regarded as an outstanding source for the best of Asian art and antiques. Skinner is proud to [...] Click here to continue reading.


Linsey-Woolsey – definition

Linsey-Woolsey

Linsey-woolsey is a fabric that is exactly what it sounds like: a combination of linen and wool woven together to create a coarse, durable fabric, sometimes woven plain or as a twill (for twill, think the diagonal weave pattern often seen on denim). “Lin” is an old term for flax, the plant whose fibers are used for linen. Occasionally, it’s referred to as “woolsey-linsey” or by the blending of the two terms, “wincey.”

[...] Click here to continue reading.


Collection of Gertrude Dittmar – Pook Provenance 10-2013

Collection of Gertrude Dittmar, Colts Neck, New Jersey

In 1943, from the army camp where he was stationed, my father wrote to my grandparents asking them to store for him an 18th century table and corner cupboard he’d just purchased for the home he would make with my mother after the war. Once in that home, these two pieces were gradually joined by others, until the farmhouse my parents share for over half a [...] Click here to continue reading.


Collection of Joanne and Jeffrey Klein – Provenance Keno 1-22-2013

Collection of Joanne and Jeffrey Klein

Collectors Joanne and Jeffrey Klein enjoy the eclectic mix of American folk art, painted furniture and modern sculpture and paintings. They love the juxtaposition of modern with traditional ranging from symbolism to widely varying textured painted and weathered surfaces. Their appreciation of form, color and texture is exhibited in their collection of exceptional painted furniture, weathervanes, redware pottery, hooked rugs and wood carvings.

Information courtesy of Keno Auctions, January 2013.


Shakudo Definition

Shakudo – Definition

Shakudo is the Japanese term for a copper and gold alloy consisting of 2% to 7% gold and the remainder copper. This alloy can then be treated to achieve a blue-black color sometimes resembling lacquer. It was historically used to make and/or decorate Japanese swords. Contemporary jewelry makers have revived the use of shakudo for its unusual and beautiful coloring.

p4A editorial staff, March 2013


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