Antique Inkwell: Alpine Carving Inkwell in the Form of a Tiger Striped Cat

Antique Inkwell: Alpine Carving Inkwell in the Form of a Tiger Striped Cat

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Antique Inkwell: Alpine Carving Inkwell in the Form of a Tiger Striped Cat
Antique Inkwell: Alpine Carving Inkwell in the Form of a Tiger Striped Cat
Antique Inkwell: Alpine Carving Inkwell in the Form of a Tiger Striped Cat
Antique Inkwell: Alpine Carving Inkwell in the Form of a Tiger Striped Cat

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Beautiful and Rare ** Antique Alpine Carving Inkwell in the form of a Tiger Striped Cat, Switzerland ca 1890**

Artfully sculptured with great detail, hand painted, complete with polychrome green / yellow art-glass eyes, this inkwell also constitutes a particularly desirable example of the Swiss Alpine wood-carving craft

Height with cover down: 7.5 cm - 3 inches

Material: Hand carved wood, adorned with art-glass eyes and mineral glass ink recipient

Condition: Excellent.

*********

Swiss Alpine Woodcarving
The beginnings of woodcarving in Switzerland are lost in the mists of time. However, already in the 13th century, churches, houses and articles of daily use were embellished with carvings.

Certainly, the rugged mountains, deep lakes and lush forests inspired artists and craftsmen alike to express, in various forms, the beauty surrounding them. However, additionally, the ample supply of suitable wood and the long, dark winter evenings with farmers isolated on mountain sides or in lost valleys also reinforced the impetus for this folk art.

Yet, it wasn't until the early years of the 19th century that this art began to become a visible means of income for the local populace. Wood carving as a cottage industry was introduced into by a native of Brienz named Christian Fischer (1790-1848), who today is recognized as the father of the art.

Master lathe-turner, in 1808, Fischer began carving and selling carved bowls and other articles of daily use including egg-cups, needle boxes, serviette rings and various similar items

In 1816, he began to carve figures and animals. His ever-increasing range of products sold well, mostly to (British) tourists. Thereafter, with the growth of tourism, the sales of woodcarvings increased, proportionally. Fischer encouraged young people to become woodcarvers and taught them in his workshop. Others took up the profession as well; and after the international fairs of 1851 and 1859 in London, Brienz woodcarvings became world famous.

Inkwell History
Perhaps the earliest written reference to the inkwell comes from the bible in Ezek 9 (9:2,3,11).

The term "keceth" in Ezek occurs three times, and means implement case or writing-case (calamarium atramentarium, theca calamaria, theca libraria, graphiaria), which scholars equate with the Egyptian palette often depicted on monuments with its associated inkwell.

Indeed, for the first three millennia following the invention of paper, the writing instrument of choice remained the quill with its associated inkwell... or elsewhere in the world stiff pointed brushes respectively styli made from reed or bamboo, also paired with an inkwell.

Historically, portable pens which carried their own ink supply were not perfected until late in the 19th century. So previously, every great writer - from Aristophanes to Shakespeare to Dickens - plied their art by first dipping a writing instrument into an inkwell and then setting this ink to paper... or before that to parchment.

Also Thomas Jefferson, who later in life sampled an early reservoir pen, had to rely on the quill and associated inkwell to draft the United States Declaration of Independence.

Still following the industrial revolution in the early years of the 19th century, as the pen began to develop from a handmade quill tool into a manufactured product when steel pen nibs began to appear, the ubiquitous inkwell remained an icon of both cultural and business life.

Today, the inkwell represents a reminder of elegant days bye-gone when technologies such as e-mail still were unimagined, and correspondence as well as penmanship constituted a cherished act to be undertaken artfully using fine noble implements.

Time & Design

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Item Details:

  • Reference #
  • 10000113
  • Quantity
  • 1
  • Category
  • Ethnic, Folk & Native American Art
  • Department
  • Antiques
  • Type / Pattern
  • Wood
  • Year
  • ca 1890
  • Dimensions
  • Width: 0 inch
  • Height: 0 inch
  • Depth: 0 inch
  • Weight: 0 pound
  • Condition
  • Excellent