A Taste of the Orient

Denby English Arts & Crafts "Orientware" Vase with Plum & Iznik Blue Glazing (LEO Design)

The West has long had a fascination with "The East"—and, I suppose, the East has had a reciprocal enthusiasm.  Perhaps its a human interest in things that are new, exotic, different or rare. While some people accuse the West of "cultural appropriation," I view it as curiosity and fascination with "the greener grass" across the fence.

Since the 1600's, wealthy Europeans have been buying and collecting Asian objets. Additionally, the West has tried (with greater or lesser success) to emulate Asian design and figure-out their production techniques—especially in the field of ceramics. At times, the Western artists would simply copy Asian items. At other times, they would "adapt" Asian designs, "re-interpreting" them for a Western taste. While these efforts may have resulted in an inauthentic reproduction, they sometimes have created something totally new: a novel idea with "Oriental" inspiration. Sometimes these objects can be very interesting—and beautiful—without being accurate. And, naturally, they provided the Middle Class to have something exotic that they could not otherwise afford.

The vase above, made in the 1920's or 1930's, starts with inspiration from the Middle East. An organic plum glaze drips over an Iznik blue undercoat. Incised decoration on the neck of the vase completes the "exotic" adaptation. It's called Denby "Orientware" and was designed during the late Arts & Crafts period (1920's).  Please click on the photo above to learn more about it.


Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com)

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