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Image of Bear Jar

Photo Credit: Photo by Greg Page Studio

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Bookmark: http://webkiosk.lbma.org:1500/objects-1/info/6108

Bear Jar

ca. 1760
18th c
7 1/2 in. x 6 in. x 9 in. (19.05 cm x 15.24 cm x 22.86 cm)

Staffordshire, England, English, b. mid 17th Century

Object Type: Ceramic
Creation Place: Europe, England, Staffordshire
Medium and Support: White Salt-glazed Stoneware
Credit Line: Gift of the Estate of Dr. and Mrs. Leslie Dornfeld
Accession Number: 2005.89.a.b
2005.89.a- lid-H: 2 3/4; W: 4 3/4; D: 5 1/2 inches
2005.89.b- body- H: 7 1/2; W: 6; D: 9 inches

Commentary
This jar in the shape of a charming, little bear may have been used in the 18th century to store tobacco or other valuable commodities.

Its two major components - the body and the head or lid - were thrown on a potters wheel with the legs, ears and eyes modeled separately and added to the figure.

The fact that many jars such as this have survived to the present day, suggests that, from pretty early on, they served decorative rather than functional purposes and that they were highly prized and well-protected by their owners.

Performing bears frequently appeared in circuses and country fairs in 18th-century England. Jars such as this occasionally depicted bears grasping dogs or clutching musical instruments. These various depictions serve to underscore this animal's dual nature, a nature that combines ferocity with great intelligence.

Performing bears frequently appeared in circuses and country fairs in the 18th century and would have been a popular subject for decorative ceramics. The body and the head, which is the lid, were thrown on a potter’s wheel with the legs, ears, and eyes modeled separately and added to the figure. The fact that many jars have survived to the present day, suggests that they were prized more as decorative items than for their functional purpose and that they were well protected by their owners.

Exhibition
2006: Kitty Rosenbaum Gallery, Long Beach Museum of Art, Long Beach, California

2003 - 2004: "Clay Bodies: Staffordshire Figurative Ceramics from the Collection of Dr. & Mrs. Leslie Dornfeld," October 4, 2003 - April 4, 2004, Long Beach Museum of Art, Long Beach, California

Object Description
Functional Representational Stoneware jar

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Dimensions
  • see Display Comments for complete dimensions Dimensions: 7 1/2 x 6 x 9 in. (19.05 x 15.24 x 22.86 cm)

Provenance History
  • Owner Name: Leo Kaplan Ltd.
    Role: Vendor
    Place: New York
    Dates: 11/25/1988

  • Owner Name: Dr. and Mrs. Leslie Dornfeld
    Role: Private collector
    Place: Los Angeles, California
    Dates: 12/25/1988

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Your current search criteria is: Keyword is "EL" and [Object]Century is "18th c".

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