carrying cloth
A Complete Concept
This simple, small rectangular cloth is an example of four-selvedged weaving—the process of weaving cloths of specific sizes and shapes without cutting any edges. The tradition was practiced for millennia in the Andes, and is rarely found elsewhere in the world (in most cultures, woven textiles were cut from the loom). Inherent in the four-selvedged...
Narrow, rectilinear stapler with curved hand grips; sides decorated with overall geometric black and white enameled pattern.
Juwel for a Tool
The design for this stapler was patented in the United States in 1934 by Fridolin Polzer who was at the time working for E.H. Hotchkiss Company, a leading manufacturer of stapling machines, based in Norwalk, Connecticut. In Japanese, the word for “stapler” is “hotchikisu” after the E.H. Hotchkiss Company, which first shipped staplers to Japan...
Figure of small long-haired dog, sitting, head slightly turned; glazed in white with brown patches.
A Royal Menagerie … and Then Some
When the Meissen porcelain manufactury began its operations in 1710, its focus was on producing fine dinner services and traditional functional decorative objects, such as vases. Meissen’s reputation and passion for the modeling of elaborate porcelain figures did not arise until two decades or so later, thanks to King Augustus of Saxony who, enthralled by...
Shows a ballet in the Versailles gardens. Three of the actors are on fake whales in the canal.
A Whale of a Tale: Damsels in Distress at Versailles
In 1664, Versailles was briefly transformed into a mythical and enchanted fairytale land. From May 7th to 13th, the court of Louis XIV arranged a festival of Les Plaisirs de l’Ile Enchantée (Pleasures of an Enchanted Island) in honor of Anne of Austria, the mother of Louis XIV and the queen Maria Theresa, although the...
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An Arabesque by the Best
There is ALOT going on in this arabesque panel attributed to eighteenth-century wallpaper powerhouse, Jean Baptiste Réveillon. The pattern was executed in shades of pink, green, orange and brown on a light-colored ground. As was standard for the time, the design is block printed, and the panel is composed of several smaller sheets of handmade...
Die harmonie der Farben by Guichard #4 small
Rarity of Color Harmony
A significant acquisition to the Cooper Hewitt Library’s special collections in 2014 was Édouard Guichard’s Die Harmonie der Farben (The Harmony of Colors). A rare and important work heavily influenced by the 1839 De la loi du contraste simulanté des Couleurs by M.E. Chevreul, this edition was published in Frankfurt Germany in 1882. Profusely illustrated...
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Jupiter from Top to Bottom
This classically inspired wallpaper panel was block printed on handmade paper c.1785-90 in France. Jupiter, king of the Gods of Rome, is rendered in tones of ochre and brown against an aqua background. He sits atop a garlanded pedestal with fists full of thunderbolts, his right arm raised and ready to dispense lightening in the...
Shows a painter sitting and painting in a studio in a shape of a cartouche
Designing a Painter
The image of the painter in his studio is a popular and common visual theme from the early modern period to the present. This particular cartouche, designed by Jacques de Lajoüe, shows a painter with the tools of his trade arranged in the form of a cartouche (a type of an ornamental frame). With the...
Miniature of a store made with solid back and two sidewalls, front panels showing two painted windows and central opening for doorway with "Grocery Stores" above it. Against the back wall, a cabinet with shelves and partitions and 16 drawers (-2b - -2l) each with a gold painted knob and handwritten paper label. One each for: almonds, annis seed, cacao, cinnamon, cloves, fenel, mace, millet, pepper, pimento, raisins, rice, saffron, sape, vermicelle (one drawer not labelled); two free-standing barrels (-2l and -2m), and two tables (-2n and -2o), each with a post (-2p and -2q) supporting one end of an arch (-2r) from which hangs a pair of scales (-2x - -2z). Pencil scribblings over outside of structure.Possibly English. In 1820's style, possibly early 19th century.
Big on Miniature
Seventeenth-century Dutch socialites Petronella de la Court and Petronella Oortman, the dauphin of France, Queen Victoria, and Queen Mary had them: dollhouses and miniature replicas of masterworks of furniture and decorative arts, through which they could recreate their larger-than-life existence.  The popularity of these Lilliputian marvels extended well into the twentieth century, when doll-sized houses,...