Archive for the ‘Metals’ Category

my wmf bon bon dish3

This delightful silver-plated bon-bon dish featuring a simple and elegant design was manufactured by WMF (1) in Germany in the early 1910’s. Being a Biedermeier style piece, it is decorated with garlands of laurel leaves and flowers. Behind it, there is an oil on canvas painting by Carlos Miranda.

(1) WMF (Wurttembergische Metalwaren Fabrik) was by 1900 the world’s largest producer and exporter of household metal ware, mainly in classic Biedermeier and Rococo styles, very popular Jugendstil and Art Nouveau, and new twentieth-century German designs.

my wmf bon bon dish2

my wmf bon bon dish5

WMF Marks

wmf mark 1wmf mark 2

wmf mark 4

WMF mark 5 1900-20wmf mark 10

wmf mark 8

wmf mark 6wmf mark 7

wmf mark 9

Other Examples

These images are used to show examples of WMF dishes:

Henkelschale WMF 1910Konfektschale wmfwmf 2

Henkelschale von WMFwmf 7wmf 9

wmf 11wmf 12WMF um 1900-20

wmf 6wmf 8wmf 18

wmf 14wmf 14bwmf 13

wmf 15wmf 15bwmf 17

WMF  Schale 1930wmf 21wmf 22

wmf 20wmf 23WMF  bon bon dish b1

WMF bon bon dishwmf.bowl.1wmf.bowl.1a

wmf 16wmf 10wmf 19

Biedermeier Style

“Bieder”: worthy, sedate, staid, also petit-bourgeois.

“Meier” : one of the commonest German surnames.

Biedermeier was an influential style from Germany and Austria during the years 1815 (Vienna Congress) and 1848 (the year of the European revolutions), based on utilitarian principles. The furniture, decorative arts, and paintings of the period reflected the taste of the newly emerging bourgeoisie. Emphasizing less extravagant means, a new standard of beauty was created through simplicity, proportion, utility and elegance. The Biedermeier style was a simplified interpretation of the influential French Empire Style of Napoleon I. The same style was known as Regency in England, Restoration in France, and Later Federal in USA, but Biedermeier was less ornate. The term became absorbed into foreign languages and from that point on signified a typically German style.

This style is associated with Germany’s greatest poet: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832).

In 1776 Goethe stated that the power poetry (Dichtungskraft) needs an environment of familiarity and intimacy (Vertraulichkeit, Bedürfnis, Innigkeit).

Goethe and Friederike Brion

Goethe and Friederike Brion

“Ah, this charm is absent from the halls of the palaces of the great and from their gardens, which have been created but as passage ways, as places in which vanity displays itself. The power of poetry only lives where familiarity, necessity and intimacy reign. Woe to the artist who leaves his hut to court distraction in the palaces of the academics.” “After Falconet and about Falconet” 1776

“Ach dieser Zauber ist’s, der aus den Sälen der Großen und aus ihren Gärten flieht, die nur zum Durchstreifen, nur zum Schauplatz der aneinander hinwischenden Eitelkeit ausstaffiert und beschnitten sind. Nur da, wo Vertraulichkeit, Bedürfnis, Innigkeit wohnen, wohnt alle Dichtungskraft, und weh dem Künstler, der seine Hütte verläßt, um in den akademischen Pranggebäuden sich zu verflattern! “Nach Falconet und über Falconet” 1776


Carlos Miranda

He was born in Córdoba, Argentina. His artwork is mostly made up of drawings and paintings around the social theme with forays into fantasy.



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This is a large cast iron wall bracket very interesting. The winged dragon is inspired by Medieval and Gothic designs.

French, late 18th early 19th century.


Length: 42 cm./ 16.4 inches

Height: 24 cm./ 9.4 inches

Width: 12 cm./ 4.7 inches

Western Dragons

The dragon is a mythical creature of great antiquity and is known equally well in the East as in the West. But in China and Japan, although it is similar in form, it is less forbidding and has very different characteristics. The Eastern dragon is benevolent and full of strength and goodness. It is associated with rain and water; in the evening it devours the sun and releases it in the morning. It takes treasure into its safe keeping from those who desire it from avarice.

The Western dragon is a malevolent and destructive power, and hoards gold and treasure for its own selfish purposes.


1 Alphyn, 2 Sagittarius, 3 Cockatrice, 4 Martlet,

5 Male Griffin, 6 Griffin, 7 Dragon, 8 Phoenix, 9 Pegasus,

10 Panther, 11 Wyvern, 12 Pelican, 13 Salamander,

14 Yale, 15 Unicorn, 16 Tyger.

Winged two-legged dragons

The Wyvern

wyvern ex libris

A wyvern or wivern is a winged reptilian mythical beast often found in Medieval heraldry. The name “wyvern” derived from the Saxon word Wivere, which means “serpent”. The French wyvern is known as the vouivre. Both words are etymologically related to viper.

The principal difference between the wyvern and the dragon is that the former has two legs while the latter has four. A wyvern is described as having the body of a snake with a dragon’s head, and a pair of bat’s wings. In Dungeons & Dragons, wyverns have a poisonous stinger in the tail. It can use its wings as forelegs in order to crawl forward, the resulting stance is usually very terrifying.

wyvern Batsford

Kilpeck Church, Herefordshire, England 1140wyvern

A second important difference is that whereas the dragon has an ambivalent reputation, the wyvern is unambiguously malicious. In the medieval bestiaries, the wyvern was used as an allegory of Satan, and was associated with pestilence and plagues. However, the wyvern is most notably show as a creature of protection, power and strength, which was important in battle. This dragon  probably entered British armory as the standard of the Roman cohort and remained in the symbolism of the post-Roman era and in the ‘burning dragon’ of Cadwallader from which the red dragon of Wales is derived.

wyvern Stone carving on a bench

wyvern holdingwyvern after 1200Westminster Wyvern

wyvern Kensal Green Cemeterywyvern Kensal Green Cemetery 2

wyvern Abbey of St Werburgh

wyvern outside the Town Hall in Braywyvern 21101

This large scaly monster was the emblem of the rulers of Wessex and the word “wyvern” is associated with the many areas of Wessex, reflected in many county and town heraldries of the South West and west of England. It also has been used farther afield in Herefordshire and Worcestershire, as the rivers Wye and Severn run through Hereford and Worcester respectively. Therefore, the wyvern is often used as a mascot in the west and south west. For example, one of the local radio stations is called Wyvern FM, and its first logo, in 1982, featured a wyvern dragon.

wyvern lamp

The Vouivre

The Vouivre is a member of the Dragon family, and is considered to be one of the most beautiful species of winged serpents.

Bestiaire d'Amours

vouivre bestiaire

According to old legends and traditions, this mythical reptile lived in swamps, lakes, abandoned chateaux and monasteries of Franche-Comté (Doubs and Jura), Burgundy (Yonne, Nievre, Côte-d’Or and Saône-et-Loire), Lorraine (Meuse) and other regions of France, Belgium, Switzerland and the Aosta Valley, Italy.


Cascade de la Vouivre - Jura

Cascade de la Vouivre - Jura

It is described as a dragon, part woman, part bird and part snake. The Vouivre too wears a jewel in the middle of her forehead. This jewel is what allows to see, and she can only be killed if it is stolen, although it is removed for bathing.

Vouivre Oratoire d'Isabeau d'Ailly Lorraine FanceNeuvy Saint-Sépulchre 1034 -1049Saint-Pierre d'Aulnay

It is said, in an old story of Franche -Comté that a greedy and fearless man, living in the town of Mouth, wanted the carbuncle for his own. He took the advice of an evil sorcerer who told him to slaughter a bull and steal the carbuncle from the Vouivre while she was busy drinking it’s blood. He did this, but once he had the jewel, he refused to share its riches with the sorcerer or the people of the town – and it turned into horse dung in his hands. It was said he smelled of dung for all the rest of his days, and the Vouivre, whose power was diminished without her magical stone, went into hiding.

Notre-Dame de La Charité-sur-Loirevivre 1 Basilique Sainte-Marie-Madeleine BourgogneGaronne Occitan France

“The Vouivre wears but one eye in the middle of her forehead, and that is a carbuncle ; when she stops to drink at a fountain, she lays it aside ; that s the time to possess yourself of the jewel, and she is blind ever after. The Vouivre flies through the air like red-hot iron, Mem. des antiq. 6, 217” [Teutonic Mythology by Jacob Grimm Vol. IV p.1492 – 1883]

Notre-Dame de La Charité-sur-Loire 2door 11th church in Nouziers, Creuse, Limousin Francevouivre Chapiteau de l'église de Lencloître Poitou Charentes

“The Vouivre is a gigantic flying serpent who elevates herself above the summits with much noise while describing immense curves in the sky. She emits a burning breath of flames and sparks which illuminates her glistening scaled clothes and the folds of her disproportionately large wings. On her head, she wears a scintillating diadem and on her forehead a single eye, which, like a luminous diamond or a star, provides her with light for her nocturnal voyages. This intense glow reveals her presence far into the distance.” Lucienne Fontannaz

Notre-Dame de La Charité-sur-Loire 3vouivre 12thVezelay

Variable Spellings

Cuivre, Gibre, Givre, Guibre, Nwywre, Vaisvre, Vaivre, Vaure, Vavre, Vebre, Vèvre, Vievre, Vive, Vivre, Voire,Voivre, Vosvre, Vouwra, Vuipre, Vuivre, Wivre, Wivrot, Woëvre, Woèvre.

Latin : Vipera, Vipère.

St Pierre de la Tour - Aulnay

Vivre 1948

The Basilisk or Cockatrice

The basilisk, king of serpents, whose eyes were so terrible that a glance killed, is the emblem of deadly sin.

basilisk or cockatrice 2

According to the “Naturalis Historia” of Pliny the Elder (40–79 C.E.; Natural history), the basilisk (from the Greek βασιλίσκος basiliskos, a little king, in Latin Regulus) is a small snake that is so venomous that it leaves a wide trail of deadly venom in its wake, and its gaze is likewise lethal.

78. “The basilisk is found in Cyrenaica and is not more than a foot in length; it is adorned with a bright white spot on its head like a diadem. It puts all snakes to flight by its hissing and does not move forward with many winding coils, like other snakes but travels along with its middle sticking up. It destroys bushes not only by its touch but also by its breath, and it burns grass and splits rocks. Its power it a threat to other creatures. It is believed that once one was killed with a spear by a man on horseback and its destructive power rose through the spear and killed both the rider and his horse. Kings have often wished to see a basilisk once dead beyond a shadow of doubt. For such a fantastic creature the venom of weasels is fatal – thus does Nature determine that nothing is without its match. Men throw basilisks into weasels’ dens, which are easily recognized by the putrefaction of the ground. The weasels kill them by their foul smell and then die themselves. Nature’s fight is over.” (Natural History-a selection, translated John Healy, 1991, Penguin Classics)

basilisk Belgum 15th

basilisk France, Saint-Martial de Limoges 13th

The way the basilisk comes into the world is as follows. When a cock is seven years old it will find itself one day in the greatest agony, because it is about to lay an egg. The cock seeks some place to secrete the egg in, but a toad anxiously watches the proceedings. When the cock has laid the egg, the toad comes and sits upon it until it is hatched. The resulting creature has the head of a cock and the body of a reptile. He hide in a crevice or an old cistern, so that no one can see it.

basilisk or cockatricecockatrice Château de Blois 2basilisk St-Pierre St-Pierre de l'Isle 13th

cocatrice Minton chinacockatrice Château de Blois

Part bird, part serpent with lion claws and bat’s wings, is the “mascot” of the City of Basel (one of the 26 cantons of Switzerland), and symbol of the city for over 500 years.


Basilisk with the arms of Basel from a Swiss 1511

basilisk 2 Baselbasilisk 3 BaselBasilisk  Basel

basilisk Basel

Basilisk  Basel fountain 2Basilisk at_Wettsteinbruecke-BaselBasilisk_fountain Basel

Basilisk Basel Ferdinand Schlöth 1879

Ode to Naples

by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)

Antistrophe 1a.

What though Cimmerian Anarchs dare blaspheme

Freedom and thee? thy shield is as a mirror

To make their blind slaves see, and with fierce gleam

To turn his hungry sword upon the wearer; _80

A new Actaeon’s error

Shall theirs have been–devoured by their own hounds!

Be thou like the imperial Basilisk

Killing thy foe with unapparent wounds!

Gaze on Oppression, till at that dread risk _85

Aghast she pass from the Earth’s disk:

Fear not, but gaze–for freemen mightier grow,

And slaves more feeble, gazing on their foe:–

If Hope, and Truth, and Justice may avail,

Thou shalt be great–All hail!

Honore de Balzac

“Physically, Grandet was a man five feet high, thick-set, square-built, with calves twelve inches in circumference, knotted knee-joints, and broad shoulders; his face was round, tanned, and pitted by the small-pox; his chin was straight, his lips had no curves, his teeth were white; his eyes had that calm, devouring expression which people attribute to the basilisk; his forehead, full of transverse wrinkles, was not without certain significant protuberances; his yellow-grayish hair was said to be silver and gold by certain young people who did not realize the impropriety of making a jest about Monsieur Grandet. His nose, thick at the end, bore a veined wen, which the common people said, not without reason, was full of malice. The whole countenance showed a dangerous cunning, an integrity without warmth, the egotism of a man long used to concentrate every feeling upon the enjoyments of avarice and upon the only human being who was anything whatever to him,–his daughter and sole heiress, Eugenie. Attitude, manners, bearing, everything about him, in short, testified to that belief in himself which the habit of succeeding in all enterprises never fails to give to a man.” Honore de Balzac (1799-1850) Eugenie Grandet – Chapter 1


“As Zadig was traversing a verdant Meadow, he perceiv’d several young Female Syrians, intent on searching for something very curious, that lay conceal’d, as they imagin’d, in the Grass. He took the Freedom to approach one of them, and ask her, in the most courteous Manner, if he might have the Honour to assist her in her Researches. Have a care, said she. What we are hunting after, Sir, is an Animal, that will not suffer itself to be touch’d by a Man. ’Tis somewhat surprizing, said Zadig. May I be so bold, pray, as to ask you what you are in Pursuit after, that shuns the Touch of any Thing but the Hands of the Fair Sex. ’Tis, Sir, said she, the Basilisk: A Basilisk, Madam, said he! And pray, if you will be so good as to inform me, with what View, are you searching after a Creature so very difficult to be met with? ’Tis, Sir, said she, for our Lord and Master Ogul, whose Castle, you see, situate on the River-side, at the Bottom of the Meadow. We are all his Vassals. Ogul, you must know, is in a very bad State of Health, and his first Physician has order’d him, as a Specific, to eat a Basilisk, boil’d in Rose water: And as that Animal is very hard to be catch’d, and will suffer nothing to approach it, but one of our Sex, our dying Sovereign Ogul has promis’d to honour her, that shall be so happy as to catch it for him, so far as to make her his Consort. The Case, being thus circumstantiated, Sir, I hope you will not interrupt me any longer, lest my Rivals here in the Field should happen to circumvent me.” Voltaire (1694–1778) Zadig Chapter 15

Basilisk Basel  Swiss 2

La Grand’ Goule

Grand Goule de Poitiers

This legendary monster – a hybrid creature with eagle’s claws and bat’s wings – is associated to the memory of saint Radegund (also spelled Rhadegund, Radegonde), the founder of Sainte-Croix abbey in the 6th century.

sainte radegonde

The dragon used to devour the Nuns of the abbey when they went into the underground storerooms in search of provisions. Radegonde, the patron saint of the Poitiers, went to hunt the monster, with a relic of the real crucifix (gift from the bysantine emperor). Seeing the relic, the Grand’ Goule was completely conquered.

Grand Goule Poitiers

This episode will become a traditional celebration with processions in the neighbourhood around Sainte-Croix. From the 17th century onwards, a wooden effigy of the beast leaded the procession, followed by the inhabitants who threw tiny cookies in its threatening mouth while conjuring danger with an unusual recommendation: Bonne sainte vermine, priez pour nous ! (“Good holy vermin, pray for us”). The sculpture is today on display in the Musée Sainte-Croix.

grand goule Notre-Dame d'Echillais

The Graoully

The name Graoully also transcribed Graouli, Graouilly, Graouilli or Graully finds its etymology in German graülich, grässlich or gräßlich who means “monstrous”.

graoully 16th

The legend of Saint Clement of Metz states that the Graoully, along with countless other snakes, inhabited the local amphitheatre. The snake’s breath had so poisoned the area and the inhabitants of the town were trapped in the town. Saint Clement led the Graoully to the edge of the Seille, and ordered him to disappear into a place where there were no men or beasts.

Saint Clement and le Gaoully - Metz France

graoully by Auguste Migette 1802-1884graouilly MetzCathédrale Saint Etienne Metz

Cathédrale Saint Etienne Metz 2Cathédrale Saint Etienne Metz 3

The Graoully quickly became a symbol of the town of Metz and it can be seen in numerous demonstrations. One can today see it represented in the crypt of the Cathédrale of Metz. It is also reproduced on the blazons of the Football Club of Metz and of the National school of engineers de Metz.

Metz-Cathedrale_St-Clement_Graoully - detailGraoully - Museum de la Cour d'orgraoully in Metz - France 2


“It was a monstrous, ridiculous, hideous figure, fit to fright little children; its eyes were bigger than its belly, and its head larger than all the rest of its body; well mouth-cloven however, having a goodly pair of wide, broad jaws, lined with two rows of teeth, upper tier and under tier, which, by the magic of a small twine hid in the hollow part of the golden staff, were made to clash, clatter, and rattle dreadfully one against another; as they do at Metz with St. Clement’s dragon.” Gargantua and Pantagruel  Book IV by Francois Rabelais – 1548

Graoully in Metz - France

The Tatzelwurm

The Tatzelwurm “worm with claws” in German, is a worm-like cryptid (i.e. its existence has not been scientifically verified).

tatzelwurm 2

This creature is usually described as a snake from five to seven feet long, two large clawed legs and a feline appearance in the head region. They lived in several areas of Europe, including the Austrian, Bavarian, Italian and Swiss Alps.

Michaelerkirche Vienna, AustriaCastle Tyrol  Italy 1140tatzelwurm3jpg

Similar creatures have been part of Scandinavian folklore for centuries. In some circles, it is classified as a variety of lesser dragon, also called Beisswurm, Hergstutzen, Springwurm, Bergstutzen, Daazelwurm, Praatzelwurm, or Stollenwurm.


“Lombard legend has more to tell of snakes, and those expressly small ones. The Heldenbuch describes the combat of a small fire-spitting beast on the Gartensee (L. di Garda) with Wolfdietrich and a lion, to both of whom it gives enough to do:

Nun hörent durch ein wunder, wie das tierlein ist genant:

es heisst zu welsch ein zunder, zu teutsch ein saribant,

in Sittenland nach eren ist es ein vipper genant;

and it is added, that there are but two such vipers alive at once, for the young ones soon after birth eat up their parents.” Jacob Grimm “Teutonic Mythology” Vol. 2 Chapter 21: Trees and Animals

Tabern in Tapolca near Lake Balaton in Hungary

La Vouivre (1989)

La Vouivre is a 1989 French film adaptation of the 1945 novel by Marcel Aymé which tells the tale of the descent into madness of a World War I veteran. Beautifully photographed, La Vouivre captures the dark poetry of the famous novel.

vouivre z


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This is an original cast iron spittoon shaped like a turtle that opens when its head is pressed. These turtles were used apparently in high-class hotels, saloons and brothels from the 17th – 19th century. This wonderful piece measures 14″ long from tip of the tail to the nose, and at the widest point is 10 3/4″ wide. A special feature of this particular turtle spittoon is that it is marked with embossed letters and it reads, “Royal Products – Chicago”.




Chewing is one of the oldest ways of consuming tobacco leaves. Native Americans in both North and South America chewed the leaves of the plant, frequently mixed with the mineral lime.
Chewing tobacco is made from leaves of an ordinary or inferior quality by pressing, twisting, or cutting. Liquorice, syrups, and various flavoring matters are used, and sometimes leaves of other plants are mixed in.

Chicago - 1900

Chicago - 1900

Colorado - 1902

Colorado - 1902

In the late 19th century, during the peak in popularity of chewing tobacco in the Western United States, a device known as the spittoon was a ubiquitous feature throughout places both private and public. So common is the custom of chewing tobacco in the United States that the spittoon is a piece of furniture scarcely less requisite than the chair or the water bucket. No house is complete without it. The habit of chewing tobacco was so common that cuspidors and spittoons were found even in the nation’s ritziest hotels, like the Plaza in New York or Chicago’s Palmer House. The purpose of the spittoon was to provide a receptacle for excess juices and spittle accumulated from the oral use of tobacco.

Danville, Illinois

Danville, Illinois

In almost every saloon, one could depend on seeing the long paneled bar, usually made of oak or mahogany. Encircling the base of the bar would be a gleaming brass foot rail with a row of spittoons spaced along the floor next to the bar.



These containers came in all sizes and shapes and where made of many different materials. The materials used to make these early containers ranged from brass to cast iron to nickel and porcelain.

Thomas Alva Edison

Thomas Alva Edison

Major June C. Smith

Major June C. Smith

After World War I, smoking cigarettes became very popular in America and the habit of chewing tobacco and dipping snuff declined. Today, baseball players still chew tobacco, as well as others, such as hunters and fishermen, who spend a lot of time outside. To this very day spittoons are still present on the floor of the U.S. Senate, though they are no longer used by members.

Turtle Spittoons








Brass Spittoons
by Langston Hughes

Clean the spittoons, boy.
Atlantic City,
Palm Beach.
Clean the spittoons.
The steam in hotel kitchens,
And the smoke in hotel lobbies,
And the slime in hotel spittoons:
Part of my life.
Hey, boy!
A nickel,
A dime,
A dollar,
Two dollars a day.
Hey, boy!
A nickel,
A dime,
A dollar,
Two dollars
Buy shoes for the baby.
House rent to pay.
Gin on Saturday,
Church on Sunday.
My God!
Babies and gin and church
And women and Sunday
All mixed with dimes and
Dollars and clean spittoons
And house rent to pay.
Hey, boy!
A bright bowl of brass is beautiful to the Lord.
Bright polished brass like the cymbals
Of King David’s dancers,
Like the wine cups of Solomon.
Hey, boy!
A clean spittoon on the altar of the Lord.
A clean bright spittoon all newly polished-
At least I can offer that.
Com’mere, boy!

Capitol spittoon cleaning - 1914

Capitol spittoon cleaning - 1914

James Mercer Langston Hughes, (February 1, 1902 – May 22, 1967) was an American poet, novelist, playwright, short story writer, and columnist. He was one of the earliest innovators of the new literary art form jazz poetry.
During his life, Hughes devoted his poetic genius to the realization of that dream deferred, the dream of racial equality. It was a dream that pervades most of his writings -his poetry, plays, short stories, novels, autobiographies, children’s books, newspaper columns, black histories, edited anthologies, and other works.
Hughes knew well the language, literature, and customs of Spain and Spanish America. He translated much Hispanic literature, including the poetry of Gabriela Mistral, Federico García Lorca, and Nicolás Guillén, into English. These volumes reflect his pioneering efforts over thirty years to bring Spanish writers to the attention of North American readers.

Langston Hughes by Consuelo Kanaga

Langston Hughes by Consuelo Kanaga

Langston Hughes by Winold Reiss

Langston Hughes by Winold Reiss

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This problematical artifact may just be main body of a pipe water. Carefully hand crafted in copper, embellished with multi-colored gemstones (aquamarine, peridot and garnet), it is authentic down to the final detail. Send me your ideas and suggestions on this piece!


What is water pipe?

It is an ancient tradition enjoyed by the people of the Middle East. A water pipe or hookah operates by water-filtration and indirect heat. It can be used for smoking many substances, such as herbal fruits and tobacco. Originally the tradition consisted of smoking opium and hashish rather than tobacco, which was introduced to hookahs only after the discovery of America almost 5 centuries later as first tobacco leaves arrived from America to Europe in 1601.
This has many names, depending on region: calean , kalian, chichi, shesha, hookah, nargillah, arghille, habel-babel, hubbly-bubbly, and other names. Also the shape slightly differs from region to region. According to the oldest sources, hookah originated somewhere along the border with Pakistan, in Western India specifically known today as Gujarat and Rajasthan provinces about 900 years ago.





Hookah (Hindustani: हुक़्क़ा / حقّہ hukkah, and from Arabic شيشة). Is most commonly used in English for historical reasons. Hookah has become the standard name in English speaking countries. Sometimes it’s spelled hooka, hookkah, hukka, hookka.

In Pakistan and India

Huqqa The original water pipe came from India, but it was rather primitive as it was made out of coconut shell. Its popularity spread to Iran and then to the rest of the Arab world.

In Egypt, Bahrain, Morocco, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia and Somalia
Shisha (شيشة) is from the Persian word shishe (شیشه, literally
translated as glass and not bottle).

In Armenia, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Greece, Cyprus, Albania, Israel, Bulgaria and Romania
Nargileh  (نارگيله) derives from Sanskrit will nārikela (नारीकेल) , which became Persian word nārgil (نارگیل) or “coconut”. The spelling varies: argileh (Lebanon), narghile, nargila, argila and argile.

In Turkey
Nargile When the water-pipe was brought to Anatolia in the 17th century, Turkish craftsmen found a new way through which they could display their skills. It was in Turkey that the nargile completed its revolution, and did not change its style for the last few hundred years. The nargile itself consists of 4 pieces which are as follows: Agizlik (mouthpiece), Lüle (the top of the nargile), Marpuç (the tube) and the Gövde (the body of the pipe which is filled with water). Water-pipes, made in Beykoz and İznik workshops were smokers’ favourites because of their decorative appearance.

In Iran, Russia, Ukraine, Lativa, Lithuania, Estonia, Moldova, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kirgyzstan, Kazakhstan
Ghalyun (غلیون ) also spelled ghalyan, ghalyaan or ghelyoon, which is apparently derived from Arabic aghla (“to make bubbles, to boil”).

In the rest of the territory of former Soviet Union
кальян in Cyrillic alphabet.

In Afghanistan
Chilam The hookah has been popular for some time, especially in Kabul .

In South Africa
Hubble-bubble or Hubbly-bubbly Referring to bubbling noise.








Hookah in Images





Hookah in Art




Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824-1904)






The Island by Lord Byron

But here the herald of the self-same mouth [60]
Came breathing o’er the aromatic south,
Not like a “bed of violets” on the gale,
But such as wafts its cloud o’er grog or ale,
Borne from a short frail pipe, which yet had blown
Its gentle odours over either zone,
And, puffed where’er winds rise or waters roll,
Had wafted smoke from Portsmouth to the Pole,
Opposed its vapour as the lightning dashed,
And reeked, ‘midst mountain-billows, unabashed,
To AEolus a constant sacrifice,
Through every change of all the varying skies.
And what was he who bore it?–I may err,
But deem him sailor or philosopher.[61]
Sublime Tobacco! which from East to West
Cheers the tar’s labour or the Turkman’s rest;
Which on the Moslem’s ottoman divides
His hours, and rivals opium and his brides;
Magnificent in Stamboul, but less grand,
Though not less loved, in Wapping or the Strand;
Divine in hookas, glorious in a pipe,
When tipped with amber, mellow, rich, and ripe;
Like other charmers, wooing the caress,
More dazzlingly when daring in full dress;
Yet thy true lovers more admire by far
Thy naked beauties–Give me a cigar!


"Harem servant girl" by Paul Trouillebert -1874

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This is a beautiful antique French bronze drapery tieback. Once made in the 1800’s to hold back the heavy draperies at elegant Chateaux and Maisons, these tiebacks have become very collectable here for such practical uses as towel holders, or hat hooks.

French Tiebacks

Drapery holder in window alcove at Versailles

Drapery holder in window alcove at Versailles

French Draperies

Etching by Van Ruyss

Etching by Van Ruyss

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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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Delicatelyart nouveau silvered pewter box with ginkgo biloba (maidenhair tree) leaves and nuts, circa 1890.

Other similar boxes

Art nouveau bronze box with blue enamel decorative on top and side. Item was purchased by Mr. Neal A. Prince, architect and interior designer, in ZagrebYugoslavia.

Ginkgo biloba and Art Nouveau inPrague

Ginkgo biloba and Art Nouveau in l’Ecole de Nancy

Ginkgo Biloba in bronze

Art nouveau cast bronze chandelier

Buckle by Paul Emile Brandt

Ginkgo poem by Goethe

This leaf from a tree in the East,
Has been given to my garden.
It reveals a certain secret,
Which pleases me and thoughtful people.

Does it represent One living creature
Which has divided itself?
Or are these Two, which have decided,
That they should be as One?

To reply to such a Question,
I found the right answer:
Do you notice in my songs and verses
That I am One and Two?

Fascinating Facts

  • Ginkgo biloba is known as a “living fossil tree”. This tree’s genetic line spans the Mesozoic era back to the Triassic period. Closely related species are thought to have existed for over 200 million years.
  • The nut-like gametophytes found inside the seeds are a traditional Chinese food and are believed to have health benefits.
  • Several ginkgoes were the only living survivors of an atomic bomb blast dropped on Hiroshima.

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This is an antique hammered copper cigar cutter in art déco style. Has great patina. As you can see in the picture, it is spring loaded. Insert the cigar, press down and cut. The cutter accommodates two different size cigars.

Country: Germany or Austrian


Marked: stork (in triangle) – Ges. Gesch. (The abbreviated form of Gesetzlich Geschutzt: legally protected, patented, copyrighted, used in Austria and Germany)

Another examples

  • The closed end (or head) of a cigar is the end that you put into your mouth, but you have to cut it, first. When a cigar is hand rolled, a cap is put on the head of the cigar to keep it from unraveling and drying out. A cigar should not be cut until you are ready to smoke.

J.D. Hogg is the “Boss” in The Dukes of Hazzard

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Hand-painted phoenix, floral, butterflies and exotic birds decorated “tôle peinte” (*) tray.

(*)Name for small objects of hand-painted tin-plate such as boxes, trays and coffee mills. The technique originated in France c.1740. Toleware was mass-produced in the 19th century in Birmingham and elsewhere in Britain.

Examples of antique tolewares

Gallery – Phoenix in Art

17th century – Sainte Marie Magdeleine – France

18th century – tile

Shāhnāmé text

13th century – Miniature

The legendary phoenix bird

  • Herodotus – Histories, vol. 2

“There is another holy bird, called the Phoenix, which I have never seen but in pictures. He rarely appears in Egypt – only once in every 500 years, so they say, in Heliopolis- and he is supposed to come when his (male) father dies. If the painter describes him truly, his plumage is part golden and part red, and he is very like an eagle in shape and size. They say that this bird comes from Arabia, bringing the body of his father embalmed in myrrh to the temple of the sun, and there he buries him. First he molds an egg of myrrh; then he puts his father in the middle of it. Lastly, he covers up the body with myrrh. This is what they say this bird does. But I do not believe them.”

  • Publius Ovidius Naso Metamorphoses

“There is one living thing, a bird, which reproduces and regenerates itself, without any outside aid. The Assyrians call it the phoenix. It lives, not on corn or grasses, but on the gum of incense, and the sap of balsam. When it has completed five centuries of life, it straightway builds a nest for itself, working with unsullied beak and claw, in the topmost branches of some swaying palm. Then, when it has laid a foundation of cassia, and smooth spikes of nard, chips of cinnamon bark and yellow myrrh, it places itself on top, and ends its life amid the perfumes. Then, they say, a little phoenix is born anew from the father’s body, fated to live a like number of years”.

  • Job -The Bible

“In my nest I shall die and like the phoenix extend my days.”

  • St. Clement – The Epistles

“Let us consider the wonderful sign that happeneth in the region of the cast, even about Arabia. There is a bird which is called the phoenix. This, being the only one of its kind, liveth for five hundred years. And when the time of its death draweth near, it maketh for itself a nest of frankincense and myrrh and the others perfumes, into which, when its time is fulfilled, it entereth, and then dieth. But as its flesh rotteth, a certain worm is produced, which being nourished by the moisture of the dead animal, putteth forth feathers. Then, when it hath become strong, it taketh the nest wherein are the bones of its ancestor, and bearing them, it flieth from the region of Arabia to that of Egypt, to the city which is called Heliopolis; there, in day-time, in the sight of all, it flieth up, and placeth them upon the altar of the sun, and having done so, returneth back. The priests, therefore, look into the registers of the times, and find that it has come at the completion of the five-hundredth year.”

  • The Exeter Book – The Phoenix

“85 That wood a bird inhabits, wonderfully handsome, strong of wings, which is called Phoenix. There this creature unparalleled keeps his dwelling and, courageous of heart, his way of life; never shall death harm him in that pleasant plateau while the world remains. He is accustomed to observe the sun’s course and to address himself towards God’s candle, the brilliant gem, and eagerly to watch for when the noblest of stars comes up over the billowy sea, gleaming from the east, the ancient work of the Father ornately glinting, God’s radiant token. The stars are hidden, gone below the ocean in the western regions, obscured in the dawning, and the dark gloomy night departs. Then the bird, powerful in flight, exultant in his wings, gazes eagerly upon the main beneath the sky, across the water, until the lamp of the firmament comes gliding up from the east above the broad sea. As the noble bird, unchangingly handsome, frequents the welling streams at the fountain-head, there the glory-blessed creature laves himself in the brook twelve times before the advent of the beacon, the candle of the firmament, and ever as often at each laving sips water cold as the sea from the pleasant well-springs. Then after splashing in the water, exalted in mood he betakes himself up into a tall tree from where he may most easily observe the journey on the eastern paths, when the taper of the firmament, a lamp of light, brightly glints over the tossing of the deep. The land is embellished, the world beautified, when across the expanse of the ocean the gem of heaven, of stars the most glorious, illumines the earth throughout the world”.

  • Jean-Pierre Vernant – “Introduction” to Marcel Detienne Les jardins d’Adonis

“The incandescent life of the phoenix follows a circular course, increasing and decreasing, with birth, death and rebirth following a cycle that passes from an aromatic bird closer to the sun than the eagle flying at great heights, to the state of a worm in rotting matter, more chthonian(*) than the snake or the bat. From the bird’s ashes, consumed at the end of its long existence in a blazing aromatic nest, is born a small earth-worm, nourished by humidity, which shall in turn become a phoenix”.

(*)A chthonian is a fictional character in the Cthulhu Mythos.

  • Hans Christian Andersen – The Phoenix Bird

“In the Garden of Paradise, beneath the Tree of Knowledge, bloomed a rose bush. Here, in the first rose, a bird was born. His flight was like the flashing of light, his plumage was beauteous, and his song ravishing. But when Eve plucked the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, when she and Adam were driven from Paradise, there fell from the flaming sword of the cherub a spark into the nest of the bird, which blazed up forthwith. The bird perished in the flames; but from the red egg in the nest there fluttered aloft a new one—the one solitary Phoenix bird. The fable tells that he dwells in Arabia, and that every hundred years, he burns himself to death in his nest; but each time a new Phoenix, the only one in the world, rises up from the red egg.

The bird flutters round us, swift as light, beauteous in color, charming in song. When a mother sits by her infant’s cradle, he stands on the pillow, and, with his wings, forms a glory around the infant’s head. He flies through the chamber of content, and brings sunshine into it, and the violets on the humble table smell doubly sweet.

But the Phoenix is not the bird of Arabia alone. He wings his way in the glimmer of the Northern Lights over the plains of Lapland, and hops among the yellow flowers in the short Greenland summer. Beneath the copper mountains of Fablun, and England’s coal mines, he flies, in the shape of a dusty moth, over the hymnbook that rests on the knees of the pious miner. On a lotus leaf he floats down the sacred waters of the Ganges, and the eye of the Hindoo maid gleams bright when she beholds him.

The Phoenix bird, dost thou not know him? The Bird of Paradise, the holy swan of song! On the car of Thespis he sat in the guise of a chattering raven, and flapped his black wings, smeared with the lees of wine; over the sounding harp of Iceland swept the swan’s red beak; on Shakspeare’s shoulder he sat in the guise of Odin’s raven, and whispered in the poet’s ear “Immortality!” and at the minstrels’ feast he fluttered through the halls of the Wartburg.

The Phoenix bird, dost thou not know him? He sang to thee the Marseillaise, and thou kissedst the pen that fell from his wing; he came in the radiance of Paradise, and perchance thou didst turn away from him towards the sparrow who sat with tinsel on his wings.

The Bird of Paradise—renewed each century—born in flame, ending in flame! Thy picture, in a golden frame, hangs in the halls of the rich, but thou thyself often fliest around, lonely and disregarded, a myth—“The Phoenix of Arabia.”

In Paradise, when thou wert born in the first rose, beneath the Tree of Knowledge, thou receivedst a kiss, and thy right name was given thee—thy name, Poetry”.

Arms of Johann Martin Bauer von Eüsenech, Anatomia Auri, Mylius in Musaeum Hermeticum, 1625

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