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Tulip Vase

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1670-80DelftfaienceH 35 cm; W 60 cm

In the 17th century, the Dutch were consumed with an ardent enthusiasm for tulips. This “tulip mania” provoked risky speculations in the stock market, as well as the production of numerous new faience vessels. They were used to present the coveted tulips and other precious bulbs grown in gardens to a desired effect within the house. Special vases in Delftware were created in accordance to the example of the Chinese blue-and-white porcelain ware so popular at the time. They had a water-reservoir to allow the cut flowers to be kept for a couple of days. These vases were often decorated with European hunting scenes, Chinese motifs such as dragons with their mouths wide open serving as handles or animal’s heads baring their teeth and locking them in the spouts. The spouts on the top of the vessel held and directed the bloom of the flowers, therefore, insuring each flower would be displayed to its maximum effect. At the same time, these vases impart the impression of a careful flower arrangement.