Archive for August, 2008

The Little Red Riding Hood

By Charles Perrault

Once upon a time there lived in a certain village a little country girl, the prettiest creature who was ever seen. Her mother was excessively fond of her; and her grandmother doted on her still more. This good woman had a little red riding hood made for her. It suited the girl so extremely well that everybody called her Little Red Riding Hood.
One day her mother, having made some cakes, said to her, “Go, my dear, and see how your grandmother is doing, for I hear she has been very ill. Take her a cake, and this little pot of butter.”
Little Red Riding Hood set out immediately to go to her grandmother, who lived in another village.
As she was going through the wood, she met with a wolf, who had a very great mind to eat her up, but he dared not, because of some woodcutters working nearby in the forest. He asked her where she was going. The poor child, who did not know that it was dangerous to stay and talk to a wolf, said to him, “I am going to see my grandmother and carry her a cake and a little pot of butter from my mother.”

“Does she live far off?” said the wolf

“Oh I say,” answered Little Red Riding Hood; “it is beyond that mill you see there, at the first house in the village.”

“Well,” said the wolf, “and I’ll go and see her too. I’ll go this way and go you that, and we shall see who will be there first.”

The wolf ran as fast as he could, taking the shortest path, and the little girl took a roundabout way, entertaining herself by gathering nuts, running after butterflies, and gathering bouquets of little flowers. It was not long before the wolf arrived at the old woman’s house. He knocked at the door: tap, tap.

“Who’s there?”

“Your grandchild, Little Red Riding Hood,” replied the wolf, counterfeiting her voice; “who has brought you a cake and a little pot of butter sent you by mother.”

The good grandmother, who was in bed, because she was somewhat ill, cried out, “Pull the bobbin, and the latch will go up.”

The wolf pulled the bobbin, and the door opened, and then he immediately fell upon the good woman and ate her up in a moment, for it been more than three days since he had eaten. He then shut the door and got into the grandmother’s bed, expecting Little Red Riding Hood, who came some time afterwards and knocked at the door: tap, tap.

“Who’s there?”

Little Red Riding Hood, hearing the big voice of the wolf, was at first afraid; but believing her grandmother had a cold and was hoarse, answered, “It is your grandchild Little Red Riding Hood, who has brought you a cake and a little pot of butter mother sends you.”

The wolf cried out to her, softening his voice as much as he could, “Pull the bobbin, and the latch will go up.”

Little Red Riding Hood pulled the bobbin, and the door opened.

The wolf, seeing her come in, said to her, hiding himself under the bedclothes, “Put the cake and the little pot of butter upon the stool, and come get into bed with me.”

Little Red Riding Hood took off her clothes and got into bed. She was greatly amazed to see how her grandmother looked in her nightclothes, and said to her, “Grandmother, what big arms you have!”

“All the better to hug you with, my dear.”

“Grandmother, what big legs you have!”

“All the better to run with, my child.”
“Grandmother, what big ears you have!”

“All the better to hear with, my child.”

“Grandmother, what big eyes you have!”

“All the better to see with, my child.”

“Grandmother, what big teeth you have got!”

“All the better to eat you up with.”

And, saying these words, this wicked wolf fell upon Little Red Riding Hood, and ate her all up.

Moral: Children, especially attractive, well bred young ladies, should never talk to strangers, for if they should do so, they may well provide dinner for a wolf. I say “wolf,” but there are various kinds of wolves. There are also those who are charming, quiet, polite, unassuming, complacent, and sweet, who pursue young women at home and in the streets. And unfortunately, it is these gentle wolves who are the most dangerous ones of all.

Charles Perrault (1628 –1703)

Charles Perrault was a French author who laid foundations for a new literary genre, the fairy tale, and whose best known tales include Le Petit Chaperon rouge (Little Red Riding Hood), La Belle au bois dormant (Sleeping Beauty), Le Maître chat ou le Chat botté (Puss in Boots), Cendrillon ou la petite pantoufle de verre (Cinderella), La Barbe bleue (Bluebeard), Le Petit Poucet (Hop o’ My Thumb), Les Fées (Diamonds and Toads), La Marquise de Salusses ou la Patience de Griselidis (Patient Griselda), Les Souhaits ridicules (The Ridiculous Wishes), Peau d’Âne (Donkeyskin) and Riquet à la houppe (Ricky of the Tuft). Perrault’s most famous stories are still in print today and have been made into operas, ballets (e.g., Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty), plays, musicals, and films, both live-action and animation.

The Little Red Riding Hood in the world

ARGENTINA – Caperucita Roja

AUSTRALIA – The Little Red Riding Hood

BRAZIL – Chapeuzinho vermelho

CUBA – Caperucita Roja

CZECHOSLOVAKIA – Cervena Karkulka

ENGLAND – Red Riding Hood

FRANCE – Le Petit Chaperon rouge

GERMANY – Rotkäppchen

HUNGARY – Piroska

ICELAND – Rauðhetta

ITALY – Cappuccetto Rosso

LITHUANIA – Raudonkepurai


NORWAY – Rødhette

POLAND – Czerwony kapturek

RUSSIA – Krasnaya Shapochka (Красная Шапочка in Cyrillic)

SPAIN – Caperucita Roja

SWEDEN – Rödluvan

USA – Little Red Riding Hood


“Et l’ogre l’a mangé” (“And the Ogre ate him!”)

Louis-Léopold Boilly,1824

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This Christening mug is beautifully decorated with a representation of the Little Red Riding Hood in bas-relief.

Circa 1910, “ORIVIT” stamp mark to the base.

Orivit (1898-1905)

The ORIVIT AG was founded in 1894 as “Rheinische Broncegieserei fur Kleinplastiken” in Koln-Ehrenfeld (Germany) by Wilhelm Ferdinand Hubert Schmitz (1863-1939). The brand name Orivit was introduced in 1898 and was primarily meant for their pewter ware. Soon however, other materials as copper, brass and mountings for glass and porcelain were also stamped Orivit. In 1905 the Company was in a total financial collapse and WMF bought ORIVIT.

WMF produced items with the name ORIVIT until 1914.

Orivit marks


After WMF

Orivit examples

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This is an art deco teapot made in Kyoto, Japan with banded decoration. In the bottom has a red stamped mark: “IDEAL IRON STONE CHINA SK KYOTO TOKICO.”

Date c. 1925, Taisho period (1).

(1) Taisho (1912–26) Period in Japanese history corresponding to the reign of the Taisho emperor, Yoshihito (1879–1926). During this period the art deco movement was dominant in fashion, furniture, textiles, ceramic and porcelain.

Japanese Art Deco

Japanese Teapots

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This pair of wooden struts from Nepal, dating from around the 17th century or early, is an interesting example of the wood carving tradition of the region. The carving depicts ithyphallic (1) guardians or protectors. The struts would once have adorned one of the many-tiered temples in the Kathmandu Valley, forming a bracket between a wall and the edge of a roof. Probably the wood used is “sal” (2).

(1) Etymology: from ithyphallos erect phallus (ithys = straight and phallos = phallus)

Definition: showing erect penis in art: in sculpture, painting, or other art, having or showing an erect penis

(2) Sal – Agrath – Shorea Robusta

Sal is a tree of the lower altitudes, being found in Nepal from the Terai to about 1200 meters. Is one of the most important timber in India and Nepal. It is used for building constructions and for any kind of works where strength and durability are the main criteria. The wood is also used in temples for carvings and for decorative beams and doors. This is the most widely used timber for any wood work in Nepal.

The Roofs

The Struts

Kathmandu Valley

According to mythology the Kathmandu Valley was once a holy lake encircled by mountains. Was an important trade route between India and Tibet, which explains its historical, political, and economic importance, and its artistic roots.

Kathmandu City

Kathmandu is capital of Nepal. The name of Kathmandu is derived from Kasthamandap, an imposing Pagoda near Durbar Square. The Vishnumati River frames the west and runs north to south, with the Bagmati forming the southern boundary. Kathmandu is separated by a short bridge across the Bagmati River from the city of Patan. Kathmandu is also known as Kantipur, the capital of the Kingdom of Nepal.

Kathmandu Durbar Square

This is the historic places of the ancient kings of Nepal. A complex of many temples and monuments, built between the 12th-18th centuries.

Patan City

This city, once called Lalitpur (the beautiful city) lies across the Bagmati river, south-east of Kathmandu. The distance between the two Durbar Squares is approximately seven kilometers. The city is full of Hindu temples and Buddhist monuments with bronze gateways, guardian deities and wonderful carvings. Is the city of fine arts, enclosed within four stupas said to be built in 3rd century AD, by Emperor Ashoka.

Patan Durbar Square

Situated in the heart of the city, is the main tourist attraction. The square is full of ancient palaces, temples, and shrines noted for their exquisite carvings.

Bhaktapur City

To get to Bhaktapur (19 km from the heart of Kathmandu city) one has to travel to the eastern quarter of the Valley on a road fringed by rich green paddy-fields and brick houses.

Is also known as Bhadgaon meaning the city of devotees, this place is the home of medieval art and architecture. The city is at the height of 4600 ft. above see level.

Bhaktapur Durbar Square

Bhaktapur Durbar Square is an assortment of pagoda and Shikhara-style temples grouped around a fifty-five-window palace of brick and wood. The square is part of a charming valley as it highlights the wood carvings (struts, lintels, tympanums, gateways and windows).

“Secrecy is a pervasive and fundamental aspect of Bhaktapur’s life. Its major symbolic representation is in the worship of the dangerous deities—above all in the Tantric mode with its emphasis on esoteric secrets, swearing of oaths to keep those secrets, and levels of initiation into progressively deeper ones. Many component units contribute elements to larger ritual or symbolic performances. Mask makers, ritual dancers, potters, image markers, astrologers, Brahmans, Acajus, and so forth may all contribute objects and/or actions.

Tantrism is intimately connected with the meanings of the dangerous deities who are the objects of its worship. Tantrism and the dangerous deities represent amoral forces and the force that controls such forces, and thus the possibility of using this force to protect the moral system itself. They represent danger and chaos, but also fertility and creativity”. Levy, Robert I. Mesocosm: Hinduism and the Organization of a Traditional Newar City in Nepal.

“The art of wood carving has been the pride of Nepal for many centuries. Woodwork has been part of traditional architecture of Nepal and wood carvings have graced monasteries, temples, palaces and residential homes since the twelfth century.The history of woodcarving in Nepal is older than that. A Chinese traveler Wang Hsuan Tsang (643 AD, has clearly mentioned the beautiful woodcrafts, wood sculptures, and decorations”.

“The people of Nepal are skilled in arts. Their houses are made of wood and carved.” Wang Hsuan Tsang: Memoirs. AD 643.

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This compact box is pure art deco. The interior is fitted with a pair of rouge pots, two original puffs, the mirror and one lipstick case.

Period 1900-20


Houbigant – Collectibles

Houbigant mark

Jean-Francois Houbigant opened his first shop at 19 Faubourg Saint-Honore, Paris, in 1775. Named “The Flower Basket” (1), the shop originally sold wig powder, perfume, fans, pomade and gloves.

An early client was Queen Marie Antoinette, and patronage by various royal families continued throughout the nineteenth century (Joséphine, Napoleon, King Louis XV, Madame du Barry, Queen Marie of Romania, Queen Victoria). The legend has it that when Marie Antoinette was fleeing to Varennes to escape the French revolutionaries she was recognised as royalty because of her Houbigant perfume, which only royalty could afford. By the late 1920s, Houbigant had a base in the United States (New York) and was selling its fine face powders in compacts. Compacts featuring Houbigant’s flower basket logo and vanities with abstract Deco designs are highly collectible.

(1) “A la Corbeille de Fleurs”

Marie-Antoinette by Jean-Baptiste Gautier Dagoty

Marie-Antoinette by Jean-Baptiste Gautier Dagoty

Copy of Napoleon's order

Copy of Napoleon's order

Houbigant Prints

Houbigant purse - 1931

Houbigant purse - 1931

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