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Century Vase

Decorative Arts

On View: Great Hall, 1st Floor
Created for the U.S. Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876, this impressive vase was designed by a German-born sculptor and made by a premier porcelain manufacturer.

The symbolic images on this vase combine a sense of place with the sweep of history. Place is represented by depictions of native animals such as American bison, walrus, and rams. Scenes from the nation’s past and examples of American invention and progress, such as reapers, sewing machines, steamships, and telegraph poles, convey the sweep of history.
MEDIUM Porcelain
DATES 1876
DIMENSIONS Height: 22 1/4 in. (56.5 cm) Diameter of base: 10 in. (25.4 cm)  (show scale)
MARKINGS Raised circle with impressed mark of "U.P.W." with eagle head holding "S" in its beak.
INSCRIPTIONS Inscribed: "Century Vase / Exhibited at the Centennial / Exhibition at Philadelphia / Manufactured 1876 / By Union Porcelain Works / Greenpoint"
COLLECTIONS Decorative Arts
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Great Hall, 1st Floor
CREDIT LINE Gift of Carll and Franklin Chace, in memory of their mother, Pastora Forest Smith Chace, daughter of Thomas Carll Smith, the founder of the Union Porcelain Works
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CAPTION Karl L. H. Mueller (American, born Germany, 1820-1887). Century Vase, 1876. Porcelain, Height: 22 1/4 in. (56.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Carll and Franklin Chace, in memory of their mother, Pastora Forest Smith Chace, daughter of Thomas Carll Smith, the founder of the Union Porcelain Works, 43.25. Creative Commons-BY
IMAGE front, 43.25_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Vase, hard paste porcelain, upper section elaborately decorated with banding of blue thunderbolts, eagles and stars superimposed in gold. The handles are bison heads. Middle section with portrait medallions on one side the sewing machine, steam boat, planter, planter and reaper, opposite side has relief of Washington in white with two medallions of the Union Porcelain Works and a factory on the other side, a gold band with animal heads separates middle section from the lower section which has designs in white relief, depicting Indians, a revolutionary soldier, and the Boston Tea Party. Condition: Good
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