13 Japanese Woodblock Prints To Prepare for Winter

Whether we’re ready for it or not, winter is coming. To prepare ourselves for the upcoming chilly season, we’ve collected a group of gorgeous winter scenes in selected Japanese prints.

“In much the same way that the Japanese go out in springtime to admire the cherry blossoms, the beauty of snow invites people to come out and admire the winter season,” according to Dieuwke Eijer, Japanese print expert. Further, “Images of cold winter, as indicated by snow scenes, invoke on the one hand feelings of melancholy, and on the other good feelings of bowls of hot noodles, and other typical winter sweet and delicacies.”

Hiroshige alone made over 1500 different winter scenes. The works incorporate a juxtaposition of the hardships endured by mid-19th century workers and travelers and the serenity of a snow-covered landscape. Despite the palpable discomfort of the situations portrayed, there is always an element of beauty visible.”

These 13 prints below highlight the natural beauty of the upcoming winter season. Bundle up and enjoy.

“Kyoto in Snow” by Ito Yuhan

Kyoto in Snow by artist Ito Yuhan, 1930s. Sold for $425

Kyoto in Snow by artist Ito Yuhan, 1930s. Sold for $425

 

“Kiso Gorge in Snow” by Hiroshige

Kiso Gorge in Snow Triptych by Hiroshige, 1857. Estimate: $400-$500

Kiso Gorge in Snow Triptych by Hiroshige, 1857. Sold for $340

 

“Falling in Snow” by Hirokage

Falling in Snow by artist Utagawa Hirokage, 1860. Estimate: $200-$300

Falling in Snow by artist Utagawa Hirokage, 1860. Estimate: $200-$300

 

“Snow at Shiba Daimon” by Hasui Kawase

Snow at Shiba Daimon by artist Hasui Kawase, 1936. Published posthumously by Watanabe. Sold for $280

Snow at Shiba Daimon by artist Hasui Kawase, 1936. Published posthumously by Watanabe. Sold for $280

 

“Mt Fuji in Snow” by Tomikichiro Tokuriki

Mt. Fuji in Snow by artist Tomikichiro Tokuriki, 1939. No. 16 from the series The Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji. Estimate: $100-$200

Mt. Fuji in Snow by artist Tomikichiro Tokuriki, 1939. No. 16 from the series The Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji

 

“Winter Landscape with Crows” by Yamamoto Shoun

Winter Landscape with Crows by artist Yamamoto Shoun, 1900-1910. Sold for $160

Winter Landscape with Crows by artist Yamamoto Shoun, 1900-1910. Sold for $160

 

“Mallard in Snow” by Ohara Koson

Mallard in Snow by Ohara Koson, 1910

Mallard in Snow by Ohara Koson, 1910. Sold for $110

 

“Snow at Nezu Shrine” by Koitsu Tsuchiya

Snow at Nezu Shrine by artist Koitsu Tsuchiya, 1950-1963. Yokoi/Harada seal, Early Edition published by Doi. Sold for $260

Snow at Nezu Shrine by artist Koitsu Tsuchiya, 1950-1963. Yokoi/Harada seal, Early Edition published by Doi. Sold for $260

 

“Imperial Palace in Snow” by Eiichi Kotozuka

Imperial Palace in Snow by artist Eiichi Kotozuka, 1950. Sold for $85

Imperial Palace in Snow by artist Eiichi Kotozuka, 1950. Sold for $85

 

“Itsukushima Shrine in Inland Sea” by Hasui Kawase

Tyobu-Torii of Itsukushima Shrine in Inland Sea by Hasui Kawase, 1936. Published by Watanabe for the book "Shinto and its Architecture"

Tyobu-Torii of Itsukushima Shrine in Inland Sea by Hasui Kawase, 1936. Published by Watanabe for the book “Shinto and its Architecture.” Sold for $100

 

“Sawatari in Joshu District” by Takahashi Shotei

Sawatari in Joshu District by Takahashi Shotei, 1936. Sold for $150

Sawatari in Joshu District by Takahashi Shotei, 1936. Sold for $150

 

“Honganji Temple in Snow” by Kotozuka Hiichi

Honganji Temple in Snow by artist Kotozuka Hiichi, 1950s. Sold for $180

Honganji Temple in Snow by artist Kotozuka Hiichi, 1950s. Sold for $180

 

“Hazy Moon on a Snowy Night” by Takahashi Shotei

Hazy Moon on a Snowy Night by Takahashi Shotei, 1936. Sold for $360

Hazy Moon on a Snowy Night by Takahashi Shotei, 1936. Sold for $360

Find a wintery Japanese woodblock print for your collection in this week’s Jasper52 auction

11 Decorative Antiques Perfect for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is fast approaching. This quintessential American holiday commemorates a harvest festival celebrated by the Pilgrims in 1621. It’s a time for reuniting with friends and family and sharing a beautiful feast. Everyone has their unique Thanksgiving traditions – whether sitting around a set table, or making due with fold out stools and eating buffet-style.

From elegant tableware to heirloom-worthy serving pieces, these Decorative Arts and Americana pieces are the perfect pieces to get us in the Thanksgiving mindset.

Vintage Soup Tureen

Get the party started with a soup course served in this vintage French soup tureen. Butternut squash soup or a creamy mushroom?

Henriot Quimper French Vintage Faience Soup Tureen, 1950. Sold for $260

Henriot Quimper French Vintage Faience Soup Tureen, 1950. Sold for $260

 

French Faience Cheese Board

For everyone who enjoys a cheese course at their Thanksgiving meal, this is perfection.

French Faience Cheese Board made by Henriot Quimper. Sold by $20

French Faience Cheese Board made by Henriot Quimper. Sold by $20

 

French Antique Meat Platter

Serve your delicious slices of turkey on this stunning French antique meat platter with  a blue rouen pattern.

French Antique Blue Rouen Pattern Faience Meat Platter, circa 1900. Estimate: $100-$150

French Antique Blue Rouen Pattern Faience Meat Platter, circa 1900. Estimate: $100-$150

 

French Vallauris Majolica Tomato Condiment Set

Because your condiments deserve to be presented beautifully as well.

3 Piece Set Mid Century French Vallauris Pottery Majolica Tomatoes Ceramic Condiment Set, 1950. Estimate: $100-$150

3 Piece Set Mid Century French Vallauris Pottery Majolica Tomatoes Ceramic Condiment Set, 1950. Estimate: $100-$150

 

Art Deco Glass Water Pitcher

It’s likely your guests will be thirsty, and pouring water out of something so elegant is a true delight.

French Art Deco Pressed Glass Water Pitcher. Estimate: $100-$150

French Art Deco Pressed Glass Water Pitcher. Estimate: $100-$150

 

Glass Dessert Mold

A full dessert table, with pies and jell-o molds, is something we’re all looking forward to.

Pressed Glass Dessert and Gelatin Mold. Estimate: $100-$150

Pressed Glass Dessert and Gelatin Mold. Estimate: $100-$150

 

Porcelain Gilded Swan Cups with Saucers

These will surely add a level of elegance to your coffee and dessert course.

Set of seven porcelain gilded cups shaped as swans with matching saucers, circa 1810. Sold for $1,600

Set of seven porcelain gilded cups shaped as swans with matching saucers, circa 1810. Sold for $1,600

 

Art Deco Liquor Glasses

Because it is likely you’re going to need a stronger beverage after your family time. It’s inevitable.

Set of 9 French Art Deco Etched Liquor Glasses, circa 1930. Sold for $120

Set of 9 French Art Deco Etched Liquor Glasses, circa 1930. Sold for $120

 

Pewter Floral Vase

For some additional decor, freshen up the table with flowers in this gorgeous pewter vase.

French Jean Goardere Art Pewter Stylized Floral Vase, circa 1950. Estimate: $100-$150

French Jean Goardere Art Pewter Stylized Floral Vase, circa 1950. Estimate: $100-$150

 

Tramp Art Frame

And what’s a Thanksgiving without a family portrait? Display your family pictures in this 1930s tramp art frame.

Tramp Art Frame, circa 1930s. Sold for $70

Tramp Art Frame, circa 1930s. Sold for $70

 

American Flag Quilt

A comfortable and stunning way to celebrate America on Thanksgiving day.

20th Century Quilt with graphic rows of American flags. Sold for $200

20th Century Quilt with graphic rows of American flags. Sold for $200

 

Looking for more decorative arts and Americana antiques for Thanksgiving and the holidays? Be sure to check Jasper52’s weekly sales.

5 influential American toy companies of the 19th century

In the early 1800s, most American children played with homemade toys. That started to change with the arrival of the industrial revolution and the application of American ingenuity toward playthings.

Names like Marx, Tonka, Mattel and Hasbro, which are familiar to baby boomers and subsequent generations, didn’t emerge until the 20th century. To explore the American toy industry’s beginnings, one has to go back in time to before the Civil War, when pioneering toy manufacturers staked their claim on a still-developing sector.

Here are five companies that were on the ground floor of American toy production:

Francis, Field & Francis Omnibus. Sold for $56,000. Image via LiveAuctioneers

Francis, Field & Francis Omnibus. Sold for $56,000. Image via LiveAuctioneers

Francis, Field & Francis

The first toy manufacturer of record was based in Philadelphia. Known as Francis, Field & Francis, a.k.a Philadelphia Tin Toy Manufactory, this business was in operation as early as 1838. Francis, Field & Francis produced the first manufactured American toy, a horse-drawn fire apparatus. The company claimed their japanned (lacquered) tin toys were “superior to any imported.”

George W. Brown & Co.

By the mid-19th century, New England was the hotbed of toy making. George W. Brown of Forestville, Conn., apprenticed as a clock maker before co-founding George W. Brown & Co., to manufacture toys. Brown applied his knowledge of clocks in designing the first American clockwork tin toys, including a train that the company marketed in 1856. His company also produced many animal-drawn conveyances, platform toys, wagons, fire engines, ships and trains.

The District School figurine set made by Crandall's, 1876. Sold for $2,200. Image via LiveAuctioneers.

The District School figurine set made by Crandall’s, 1876. Sold for $2,200. Image via LiveAuctioneers.

Crandall Toys

Charles M. Crandall of Montrose, Pennsylvania, whose father and brothers were also toy makers, had his greatest success manufacturing building block sets. His sets patented in 1867 featured a tongue-and-groove arrangement that held the pieces together. Crandall introduced lithographed paper-on-wood building block sets in the 1870s. It was said that by the end of the 19th century, Crandall’s building block sets were seen in almost every civilized nation.

J. & E. Stevens Co.

J. & E. Stevens Co. of Cromwell, Connecticut, is credited as the first American company to produce cast-iron toys. John & Elisha Stevens started out making hardware but switched to simple toys like sadirons, garden tools and, later, pistols. J. & E. Stevens supplied cast-iron wheels to numerous toy makers. They are best known as prolific manufacturers of cast-iron mechanical banks in the late 1800s.

Ives & Co Cutter Sleigh, 1893. Sold for $190,000. Image via LiveAuctioneers

Ives & Co Cutter Sleigh, 1893. Sold for $190,000. Image via LiveAuctioneers

Ives & Co.

Of the many toy makers to emerge after the Civil War, the undisputed leader was Ives & Co. Edward Ives joined his father, Riley, around 1860. They moved their company from New York City to Bridgeport, Connecticut, a clock-making center, to facilitate their transition to manufacturing clockwork toys. The first were No. 1 Boy on Velocipede and No. 2 Single Oarsman, which replicated a man rowing a boat. Within a few years, Ives & Co. was producing about 20 high-quality clockwork tin toys. Ives set the pace with the trend toward cast iron in the 1870s, making the first mechanical bell toys on wheels. By the 1880s, Ives, Blakeslee & Co. was exporting toys to Europe and South America. In 1890, Harry Ives joined his father, Edward, in the business and continued manufacturing popular toys and trains well into the 20th century.

To view and bid on antique American toys, head to Jasper52 to check out this weeks’ curated toy auctions.

Information sourced from The Story of American Toys by Richard O’Brien (Abbeville Press, 1990)

11 Stunning Portraits of Famous Writers

The writer is often hidden behind the pen. However, in this stunning curated collection of photogravure portraits, authors, poets, and playwrights reveal themselves to the camera lens. In these photogravure portraits, the printmaking process ensures high-quality reproductions, lending gravures a rich, velvety texture. Face time with black-and-white portraits of the authors and writers behind some of the characters who have shaped our culture.

William Faulkner by Henri Cartier-Bresson

William Faulkner by Henri Cartier-Bresson, 1952. Est. $180-$220

William Faulkner by Henri Cartier-Bresson, 1952. Est. $180-$220

Henry Miller by Brassai

Henry Miller photographed by Brassai, 1968. Sold for $75

Henry Miller photographed by Brassai, 1968. Sold for $75

Ernest Hemingway by Yousuf Karsh

Ernest Hemingway by Yousuf Karsh, 1967. Sold for $120

Ernest Hemingway by Yousuf Karsh, 1967. Sold for $120

Susi Wyss by Robert Mapplethorpe

Susi Wyss phorographed by Robert Mapplethorpe, 1985. Sold for $190

Susi Wyss photographed by Robert Mapplethorpe, 1985. Sold for $190

Robert Frost by Yousuf Karsh

Robert Frost photographed by Yousuf Karsh, 1967. Sold for $110

Robert Frost photographed by Yousuf Karsh, 1967. Sold for $110

Jean-Paul Sartre by Henri Cartier-Bresson

Jean-Paul Sartre by Henri Cartier-Bresson, 1952. Est. $180-$220

Jean-Paul Sartre by Henri Cartier-Bresson, 1952. Est. $180-$220

Carl Sandburg by Yousuf Karsh

Carl Sandburg by Yousuf Karsh, 1960. Est. $180-$250

Carl Sandburg by Yousuf Karsh, 1960. Est. $180-$250

James Joyce by Man Ray

James Joyce by Man Ray, 1934. Est. $250-$350

James Joyce by Man Ray, 1934. Est. $250-$350

Normal Mailer by Yousuf Karsh

Normain Mailer by Yousuf Karsh, 1976. Sold for $20

Normain Mailer by Yousuf Karsh, 1976. Sold for $20

Caterine Millinaire by Robert Mapplethorpe

Caterine Millinaire by Robert Mapplethorpe, 1985. Sold for $40

Caterine Millinaire by Robert Mapplethorpe, 1985. Sold for $40

Vladimir Nabokov by Yousuf Karsh

Vladimir Nabokov by Yousuf Karsh, 1976. Sold for $380

Vladimir Nabokov by Yousuf Karsh, 1976. Sold for $380

Fan of gravure photography? Be sure to follow @byjasper52 on Instagram for more images and updates.

The Complete History of Snuff Bottles

The snuff bottle is a marriage of craftsmanship and artistry that evolved in ancient China and Mongolia. Even with a practical purpose in mind, these functional items quite often feature detailed and elegant designs that artfully reflect their cultural origin.

Painted White Agate Snuff Bottle, Est. $100-$200, Nov. 6 Jasper52 Sale

Painted White Agate Snuff Bottle, Est. $100-$200, Nov. 6 Jasper52 Sale

The origin of snuff’s arrival in China is a topic of debate. According to some historians and historical records, members of China’s imperial families and social elite were introduced to snuff by European missionaries and merchants. This reportedly occurred during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Other reports say that snuff made its way to China by way of Japan.

The popularity of snuff — tobacco leaves finely ground and infused with herbs and spices — grew rapidly in China during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). As more people discovered the stimulating and relaxing effects of snuff, as well as its ability to “cure” aches and pains, colds, and digestive issues, efforts to create snuff containers began. Chinese and Mongolian craftsmen began developing the diminutive bottles, with a cork affixed to the stopper in order to ensure the snuff remained fresh.

By the middle of the Qing Dynasty, the use of snuff and snuff bottles had spread throughout China and into nearly every aspect of society. The bottles were appreciated not only as a means for carrying and accessing snuff anywhere, but also for their artistry and decorative appeal, according to an article by Zhixin Jason Sun, curator, Department of Asian Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Painted White Agate Snuff Bottles, Est. $100-$200, Nov. 7 Jasper52 Sale

Painted White Agate Snuff Bottles, Est. $100-$200, Nov. 7 Jasper52 Sale

While early snuff bottles were made from a variety of materials, glass and variations of glass with artistic elements were by far the most popular. In fact, in an article appearing on The Cultural Concept Circle, it is reported that Emperor Kangxi established a central glass workshop early in the Qing Dynasty with snuff bottles as one of the primary products. During the Qing Dynasty, snuff bottles were produced primarily in six regions: Guangzhou, Beijing, Boshan, Inner Mongolia, Liaoning Province, and Tibet. The area of Liaoning was best known for producing agate snuff bottles.

The most popular types of glass snuff bottles include:

  • Reverse-painted-on-glass: Largely said to have become popular in the middle of the Qing Dynasty, they are still created by artisans today. The bottles are decorated with paintings and often include calligraphy on the inside. Scholars were among the first to create this type of snuff bottle, accessing the polished “canvas” of glass through the mouth of the bottle, then carefully painting the scene.
  • Overlay-on-glass, also referred to as Peking glass: This type of snuff bottle is created when an artisan uses a singular color of glass as the base, then adds layers of contrasting colored glass. After the layers have been added, the artist carves a design. In do doing, each of the layers of glass is revealed, according to an article posted on the Scanlan Fine Arts Gallery website.
  • Agate: This type of stone was first utilized in snuff bottles by artisans living in Beijing. In a Collectors Weekly article by snuff bottle expert Vincent Fausone Jr., the author explains that winter temperatures in Beijing could drop considerably, and in that climate, glass bottles could shatter. This led to the use of stone, especially agate.
  • Enameled: Antique enameled snuff bottles are miniature works of art that required a high level of workmanship on the part of the artisan creating them. The temperature had to be very carefully monitored as the enamel was applied, Fausone Jr. explained, adding that craftsmen in ancient China learned the enameling technique from European Jesuits.

It was common for the palm-sized masterpieces known as snuff bottles to be capped with a piece of jade. The jade would be attached to the cork stopper, which in many cases had a small spoon fastened to it. The spoon was used to assist in sniffing the snuff.

  • Jade: In addition to serving as the material from which many snuff bottle caps were made, jade was also used as a primary material for the bottles themselves. Over the centuries, Chinese leaders have viewed jade with reverence. During the Han Dynasty, Xu Shen extolled the five virtues of jade: benevolence, honesty, wisdom, integrity and bravery.
Jade Snuff Bottle, Est. $10-$200, Nov. 7 Jasper52 Sale

Jade Snuff Bottle, Est. $10-$200, Nov. 7 Jasper52 Sale

Just as snuff bottles were appreciated for their beauty and cultural significance during the Qing Dynasty, they continue to be held in high regard by collectors, historians and designers alike. Small in stature, diverse in composition and artistry; and varied in cost, they comprise an endless collecting field to explore and enjoy.

 

View the exceptional snuff bottles in this week’s Asian Antiques Jasper52 auction.


Additional Sources:

 

 

7 Adorable Swarovski Animals You Will Want in Your Collection

While you may not be able to cuddle with them, Swarovski’s crystal animal figurines are quite adorable. For background, Swarovski is an Austrian producer of cut lead glass founded by Daniel Swarovski in 1895. While they company primarily creates fashion design crystals and optics such as telescopes, their body of work also includes figurines, jewelry and couture, chandeliers, and more. Swarovski’s mastery in crystal cutting and passion for innovation and design has made it the one of the world’s premier jewelry and accessory brands.

Below we’ve picked out a few of our favorites from the animal kingdom that are almost too cute to not cuddle with.

Cinta Elephant Mother

Swarovski Cinta Elephant Mother Crystal Figurine, Est. $100-$200

Swarovski Cinta Elephant Mother Crystal Figurine, Est. $100-$200

The Dolphin

Swarovski Dolphin Crystal Figurine, Est. $50-$150

Swarovski Dolphin Crystal Figurine, Est. $50-$150

Wildlife Pandas

Two Swarovski Wildlife Panda Figurines, Est. $200-$400

Two Swarovski Wildlife Panda Figurines, Est. $200-$400

The Lion

Swarovski Lion Figurine, Est. $50-$150

Swarovski Lion Figurine, Est. $50-$150

Siku Polar Bear

Swarovski Siku Polar Bear Crystal Figurine, Est. $50-$150

Swarovski Siku Polar Bear Crystal Figurine, Est. $50-$150

Paikea Whale

Swarovski Paikea Whale Crystal Figurine, Est. $50-$150

Swarovski Paikea Whale Crystal Figurine, Est. $50-$150

The Dolphins, 1990

Swarovski Dolphins Crystal Figurine, Est. $50-$150

Swarovski Dolphins Crystal Figurine, Est. $50-$150

Do you have any Swarovski figurines in your collection? Snap a pic and share them with us on Twitter or Instagram @byjasper52.

Bookbinding: A Complete History

There is a striking parallel between the way books have developed over the past 2,000 years and the way in which furniture, decorative art and textiles have evolved over time.

“Books are companion items to art and furniture when viewed as part of the larger history of material culture,” said Monika Schiavo, Director of Waverly Rare Books in Falls Church, Virginia.

The codex book form – or a book containing multiple, stitched-together pages with handwritten content – dates back 2,000 years. However, it was not until European culture emerged from the Dark Ages and Gutenberg invented his printing press, in 1440, that bookbinding came into being.

Within a few decades of its invention, the printing press had spread to more than 200 cities in a dozen countries. By 1500, printing presses in Western Europe had already produced more than 20 million volumes.

In Renaissance Europe, with its flourishing art movement, the arrival of mechanical, movable-type printing had a profound effect on society. It introduced the era of mass communications to a blossoming culture that held aesthetics in high regard. Different styles of bookbinding began to emerge, reflecting regional preferences and implementing locally available materials.

The timeline for bookbinding looks like this:

16th Century: Birth of the Modern Book

Books became smaller and were easier to bind. Covers made of wood were replaced by pasteboards composed of layers of glued-together paper. Gold tooling became more prevalent, and titles were slowly making their way onto the spines of books.

17th Century: Refinement in Style

The structure of 17th-century books is very similar to that of the previous century, but the decoration and styling was more refined. Decorated endpapers became more common, endbands become more colorful, and the use of gold tooling increased.

18th Century: Elaboration and Simplicity

Overall, the binder became fancier, while the structure became simpler. With the availability of better technology, shortcuts could be taken during the binding process that saved money and increased production. Half and quarter bindings (combining leather with decorated paper sides) began to be used to save on the cost of leather.

Early 19th Century: The Era of Industrialization + Publishers in Control

The early 19th century was an era of transformation for bookbinding. With the increase in the demand for books, binders turned to mechanization to meet the challenge. Publishers also began to take control of the whole book-making process, from editing to printing to binding. Thus, books began to be sold with the covers already bound onto them. From a historical perspective, this makes it easier to date bindings from that period.

Late 19th Century: Publishers’ Cloth Bindings

As publishers took control over the entire book-making process, they began to view the cover as being integral to the whole. Cover designs could reflect the content, set the tone for the reader or attract the consumer. Cloth bindings were not readily accepted at first, but by the end of the 19th century, they were the norm.

19th and 20th Century: Fine Bindings – A Return to Craft Bindings or the Backlash Against the Machine

Not everyone was happy with the Industrial Revolution, including bookbinders, who regarded books as art rather than utilitarian objects. Although many bookbinders over the centuries practiced excellent craftsmanship, they thought of themselves as more than just craftsmen. Art books, private-press books, e.g., books from the Kelmscott Press, founded by William Morris, were a direct reaction to the industrialization of bookbinding. Morris looked back to an earlier age when crafts were done by hand.

Elbert Hubbard’s Roycrofters Press could be described as a more mass-market, American version of the Kelmscott Press, associated with the Arts and Crafts movement.

20th Century and Beyond: Bindings for the Masses

After the Industrial Revolution, books were being produced by the thousands. The 20th century brought refinements – both good and bad – to the machine-made book. Machine sewing became stronger, but adhesive binding slowly took over.

Machine-made paper has definitely improved over the last 50 years, but there are many brittle books from the late-19th and early 20th centuries that are slowly disintegrating, hence the need for vigilance in conservation and storage.

Our thanks for Michigan State University Libraries for providing some of the historical information contained in this article. 


Monika_Schiavo_ImageMonika Schiavo, Director of Waverly Rare Books, a division of Quinn’s Auction Galleries, received her Bachelor of Arts degree from St. John’s College in Annapolis, Md., a Certificate in Appraisal Studies from New York University, and a Master of Arts degree from the Smithsonian’s History of Decorative Arts program. Schiavo provides free onsite evaluations and auction estimates for both buyers and consignors.

Top 5 Instagram Accounts All About Rare Books

You know that feeling when you’re just taking a quick peek at your Discover Tab on Instagram, and then suddenly 30 minutes have gone by as you’ve been sucked in to the amazing pictures? Yeah, that happens to us all the time. And this week, it happened when we went down a #RareBook rabbit-hole like Alice in Wonderland. Below you’ll find 5 Instagram accounts that feature beautiful book images and treat us to interesting and unique stories on a regular basis. We hope you enjoy the journey.

wonderlandantiquarian

Photo: worldantiquarian on Instagram

Photo: worldantiquarian on Instagram

Worldantiquarian is a self-described lover of children’s books and takes followers on a journey as she finds beautiful bookstores, colorful children’s books and many unique editions of Alice in Wonderland.

i_bibliotaph

Photo: i_bibliotaph on Instagram

Photo: i_bibliotaph on Instagram

Lots of #shelfies and dark-lit eerie snaps of some beautifully bound rare books comprise @i_bibliotaph’s account.

exlibris.lioness

Photo: exlibris.lioness on Instagram

Photo: exlibris.lioness on Instagram

Through this Instagram account we get to visit book stores and libraries across the world, and of course, get up close and personal with some delicious rare books.

Stikeman & Co Bookbindings

Photo: jeffstikeman on Instagram

Photo: jeffstikeman on Instagram

Jeff Stikeman collects rare books and bindings, but our favorite ‘grams from him are those showing the craft of bookbinding. Stikeman & Co operated in midtown Manhattan for decades and the stories are artfully demonstrated in his pictures.

The Library Company

Photo: librarycompany on Instagram

Photo: librarycompany on Instagram

The Library Company of Philadelphia is a research library that focuses on American society and culture from the 17th-19th centuries. With incredibly fascinating prints and writings, the books that are on display in their feed are not to be missed.

Got more Instagram favorites? Share them with us on Instagram @byjasper52.

The Ultimate Guide to Antique Persian Rugs

Entering the world of antique Persian rugs for the first time can be like setting foot in a faraway land, and while the language of rugs is foreign, the look and feel of these fine, handmade floor coverings are irresistible. Below we share all the crucial information you need to get started with antique Persian rugs.

A virtual garden of richly articulated palmettes and vines spreads in repeated allover symmetry across the pale apricot ground of this lavish antique Kerman, Lavar. Size: 11 feet 9 inches by 15 feet 4 inches Sold for $14,950. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com and Nazmiyal Auctions

A virtual garden of richly articulated palmettes and vines spreads in repeated allover symmetry across the pale apricot ground of this lavish antique Kerman, Lavar. Size: 11 feet 9 inches by 15 feet 4 inches Sold for $14,950. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com and Nazmiyal Auctions

Why Decorate with Persian Rugs

An added benefit of decorating your home with Persian rugs is their durability. Handmade Persian rugs are made to stand up to years – if not decades – of use.

In terms of decorative appeal, Persian rugs have a timeless, classical elegance that’s right at home in Western interiors.

While collectors tend to delve into ancient traditions, beliefs, geometric figures and symbolic motifs woven into these rugs, most Western buyers want to know what types and styles should go where in the home.

 

This late 19th century Mohtashem rug features a formal inset medallion woven in an elegant combination of colors. It measures 8 feet 6 inches by 11 feet 9 inches and sold for $44,000. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers archive and Nazmiyal Auctions

This late 19th century Mohtashem rug features a formal inset medallion woven in an elegant combination of colors. It measures 8 feet 6 inches by 11 feet 9 inches and sold for $44,000. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers archive and Nazmiyal Auctions

Style Factors

Deciding what style or design is right for your home depends on personal preferences and the size of the floor.  The following are factors to consider:

  • More traditional designs incorporate well into older homes with more intricate décor while modern design rugs lend themselves to contemporary spaces with simple geometry and an open aesthetic.
  • Geometric rugs with bold patterns and strong contrasts have a masculine appeal, while floral designs with softer color schemes and less contrast emanate a feminine charm.
  • Keep an eye on symmetry in a room. Allover designs make furniture arrangement easy for spaces such as living rooms and libraries. Certain rooms, such as dining rooms, provide the perfect setting for a medallion rug, which features a large motif in the center of the field.
  • Colorful rugs will make a strong statement in a room, while a more neutral or monochromatic rug will subtly complement the other colors in the room and integrate easily into existing décor.
  • Filling the floor, or most of it, is not necessarily the way to go, unless the primary concern is acoustic sound absorption. If the floors are attractive, a certain amount flooring should remain exposed around the edge of the room. One or more carpets can also be used to establish different spaces or areas within a larger room, say a living area and a dining area within a continuous space.

Rug Size Does Matter

Antique scatter size small rugs are often woven by nomadic tribes and present more village-style weaves as well as tribal geometric motifs. Not all small area rugs are tribal though – major rug producing regions like Kerman and Tabriz also produced smaller rugs with very fine weaves and more floral, curvilinear designs. Regardless of their genesis or style, the smaller sizes of these scatter rugs make them versatile for any space in the home.

There are also antique accent rugs that feature amazingly detailed medallions and botanical patterns. Scatter rugs are eclectic, practical, versatile and ideal for collectors who’d like to acquire a variety of unique pieces.

Room-size rugs come in sizes from 9 feet to 15 feet long and are intended for use in the main rooms of your home such as the family room, living room, dining room, and bedroom. Antique rugs in this size range vary tremendously in terms of design and come in nearly every color and style imaginable. More decorative room-size rugs are perfect for less formal areas like a family room or bedroom. For more formal areas, look to the refined Persian city weaves or Indian rugs.

Antique runner rugs are long and narrow rugs and are suitable for hallways and stairways. Many times runner rugs come from nomadic tribes as the looms these weavers used had to be small enough to carry with them. Thus, the width was fixed to the maximum width of the loom, but the length could go on indefinitely.

Extra large rugs are often referred to as “palace size rugs” or “oversize carpets.” These big rugs and carpets are necessary for larger homes with expansive living areas and dining rooms. Antique extra-large rugs were often commissioned by aristocracy and custom tailored to suit their exquisite tastes. Extra-large rugs can be some of the most decorative and refined pieces available in the market.

This Turkish Yuruk family prayer rug from the late 19th century is an example of a tribal rug. Measuring 4 feet by 7 feet, it sold for $4,800. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers archive and Nazmiyal Auctions

This Turkish Yuruk family prayer rug from the late 19th century is an example of a tribal rug. Measuring 4 feet by 7 feet, it sold for $4,800. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers archive and Nazmiyal Auctions

City Rugs v. Tribal Rugs

All antique rugs are woven in basically the same technique, one that has been established for a long time. Despite this relative homogeneity, however, there are certain types of rugs that aesthetically distinct from one another.

One of the most important such divisions is that which exists between city rugs and village or tribal rugs. This divide is important to the rug world because the differences between these two distinct types of rugs may involve substantial differences in style.

Generally, city rugs tend to be sophisticated, refined, and elegant – qualities that work well in formal settings. Meanwhile, the bold, geometric designs and effects of village and tribal rugs work better in less formal circumstances. Personal taste, however, overrides all such considerations.

Find and bid on unique Persian rugs in Jasper52 rug auctions.

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Adapted from original article featured on Auction Central News. Information from the Nazmiyal Collection. 

 

Viking Jewelry: Everything You Need to Know

Vikings and ancient Scandinavian culture and lore have attracted increased interest in recent years, largely in part to film and television programming (have you heard of Game of Thrones?). This awareness has led to a fascination with the skillful metalwork of Vikings, including their weaponry and jewelry. Discoveries of the divergent representation of masterful Viking metalwork continue to occur in the UK and other western European countries, according to Bob Dodge, owner/director/founder, Artemis Gallery Ancient Art, which specializes in antiquities and ancient art.

Below we outline the key facts and info behind Viking jewelry, so you can start your collection:

Gold Ring

Viking 22K gold ring, Northern Europe, found in Britain, ninth to 12th century. Composed of two gold wires twisted together and hammered and welded at the terminals, displaying traditional Viking techniques. Artemis Gallery image

Viking 22K gold ring, Northern Europe, found in Britain, ninth to 12th century. Artemis Gallery image

While silver appears to have been the metal of choice, a small number of Viking gold pieces and bronze objects have come to auction, Dodge said. This gold Viking ring from the ninth to the 12th century was found in Britain.

While we may not know the exact meaning behind the designs, we do find indicators or origins. Shield forms probably paid homage to the importance of this item of warfare to the expansionist dreams of the Vikings, said Dodge.

Sorcerer’s Amulet

Viking sorcerer/seer amulet, A.D. 850-1100, shaped as a duck’s foot and pierced. Jasper52

Viking sorcerer/seer amulet, A.D. 850-1100, shaped as a duck’s foot and pierced. Jasper52

Examples of Viking mythology and their religion can also be seen in ancient jewelry. For example, this pierced amulet, shaped as a duck’s foot is similar to a necklace found at the grave of a woman of wealth and societal status, along with a wand and other items. It was believed, based on the discovery of the items in the grave, that the woman was a sorcerer or seer.

Silver Ring

Viking silver ring, ninth to 11th century, found in U.K. Artemis Gallery image

Viking silver ring, ninth to 11th century, found in U.K. Artemis Gallery image

Efficient design and ease of use are at the core of ancient Viking jewelry. This heavy overlapping coil of silver band has been twisted and incised with “feather” pattern along most of its length. Rings are a common type of Viking jewelry discovered today, second only to bracelets, Dodge explained.

Garment Brooch

Viking silver brooch, twin-paneled brooch or fibula, each side decorated with grape patterns, Western Europe, ninth to 12th century. Artemis Gallery image

Viking silver brooch, each side decorated with grape patterns, ninth to 12th century. Artemis Gallery image

Vikings used brooches to hold clothing in place and guard against the impact of swords during battle.

Hoop Earrings

Viking 22K gold hoop earrings, Northern Europe, ninth to 12th century. Artemis Gallery image

Viking 22K gold hoop earrings, Northern Europe, ninth to 12th century. Artemis Gallery image

Long before advancements in fabrication, Vikings created weapons, armor and tools that stood the test of time and completed the tasks at hand. Those skills are also evident in more elaborate jewelry designs like that of these gold hoop earrings. Other shapes seen in Viking jewelry include hearts, crescents and axes.

Interested in starting your own Viking jewelry collection? Discover Viking Jewelry on Jasper52.

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Adapted from original article featured on Auction Central News by C.A. LEO