Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘ashtray’


Smoking has been accepted into culture, in various art forms, and has developed many distinct, and often conflicting or mutually exclusive, meanings depending on time, place and the practitioners of smoking. Pipe smoking, until recently one of the most common forms of smoking, is today often associated with solemn contemplation, old age and is often considered quaint and archaic. Cigarette smoking, which did not begin to become widespread until the late 19th century, has more associations of modernity and the faster pace of the industrialized world. Cigars have been, and still are, associated with masculinity, power and is an iconic image associated with the stereotypical capitalist. Smoking in public during the Victorian age was something reserved for men and when done by women was associated with promiscuity. In Japan during the Edo period, prostitutes and their clients would often approach one another under the guise of offering a smoke and the same was true for 19th century EuropeArt.

The earliest depictions of smoking can be found on Classical Mayan pottery from around the 9th century. The art was primarily religious in nature and depicted deities or rulers smoking early forms of cigarettes.  Soon after smoking was introduced outside of the Americas it began appearing in painting in Europe and Asia. The painters of the Dutch Golden Age were among the first to paint portraits of people smoking and still lifes of pipes and tobacco. For southern European painters of the 17th century, a pipe was much too modern to include in the preferred motifs inspired by mythology from Greek and Roman antiquity. At first smoking was considered lowly and was associated with peasants.  Many early paintings were of scenes set in taverns or brothels. Later, as the Dutch Republic rose to considerable power and wealth, smoking became more common amongst the affluent and portraits of elegant gentlemen tastefully raising a pipe appeared. Smoking represented pleasure, transience and the briefness of earthly life as it, quite literally, went up in smoke. Smoking was also associated with representations of both the sense of smell and that of taste.

In the 18th century smoking became far more sparse in painting as the elegant practice of taking snuff became popular. Smoking a pipe was again relegated to portraits of lowly commoners and country folk and the refined sniffing of shredded tobacco followed by sneezing was rare in art. When smoking appeared it was often in the exotic portraits influenced by Orientalism. Many proponents of post-colonial theory controversially believe this portrayal was a means of projecting an image of European superiority over its colonies and a perception of the male dominance of a feminized Orient.  They believe the theme of the exotic and alien “Other” escalated in the 19th century, fueled by the rise in popularity of ethnology during the Enlightenment.

In the 19th century smoking was common as a symbol of simple pleasures; the pipe smoking “noble savage”, solemn contemplation by Classical Roman ruins, scenes of an artists becoming one with nature while slowly toking a pipe. The newly empowered middle class also found a new dimension of smoking as a harmless pleasure enjoyed in smoking saloons and libraries. Smoking a cigarette or a cigar would also become associated with the bohemian, someone who shunned the conservative middle class values and displayed his contempts for conservatism. But this was a pleasure that was to be confined to a male world; women smokers were associated with prostitution and was not considered an activity in which proper ladies should involve themselves.  It was not until the turn of the century that smoking women would appear in paintings and photos, giving a chic and charming impression. Impressionists like Vincent Van Gogh, who was a pipe smoker himself, would also begin to associate smoking with gloom and fin-du-siècle fatalism.

While the symbolism of the cigarette, pipe and cigar respectively were consolidated in the late 19th century, it was not until the 20th century that artists began to use it fully; a pipe would stand for thoughtfulness and calm; the cigarette symbolized modernity, strength and youth, but also nervous anxiety; the cigar was a sign of authority, wealth and power. The decades following World War II, during the apex of smoking when the practice had still not come under fire by the growing anti-smoking movement, a cigarette casually tucked between the lips represented the young rebel, epitomized in actors like Marlon Brando and James Dean or mainstays of advertising like the Marlboro Man. It was not until the 1970s when the negative aspects of smoking began to appear; the unhealthy lower-class loser, reeking of cigarette smoke and lack of motivation and drive, especially in art inspired or commissioned by anti-smoking campaigns.  This may have been due largely to the Aquarius generation where flower power and Peace culminated in smoking cannibus. A serious collector of tobacciana can build a tremendous collection around the 1970’s era drug culture.  It could be called the “Hippie” collection. Ha ha.

Here are some of the ash rescepticles that I have collected for their beautiful art form.  Most are Asian, Hand Painted, Nippon or Noritake.

                   

                   

              

Collection of Nippon ashtrays, all hand-painted prior to 1921.

 

                   

         

Hand Painted enamel Moriage ashtrays, made in Japan, ca. 1930s – 1940s.

 

                        

Collection of Lusreware ashtrays, Made in Japan, ca. 1940s – 1950s

              

Noritake, Hand painted and Made in Japan after 1921.

 

Glass and Brass, Roaring 20s ahstray and humidor.

 

No “butts” about it this is a good sized collection of Japanese ashtrays. All are being sold on eBay at my store “Kelekchens” or you can contact me through this post by entering your request under comments. Just leave your request and a way for me to contact you .  To see these items in my store and other collectibles put your cursor on my assistant “the duck” and press enter.  Until next time happy collecting and remember “the best is yet to come”.

 

Advertisements

Read Full Post »


Early Cultivation

John Rolfe, a colonist from the Jamestown Settlement, was the first to grow tobacco in America. He arrived in Virginia with tobacco seeds procured on an earlier voyage to Trinidad, and in 1612 he harvested his inaugural crop for sale on the European market.  Rolfe’s tobacco operation was an immediate boon for American exports, and English demand increased dramatically when cheap American leaf depressed prices. 15 years after Rolfe’s first crop, English imports of American tobacco had reached almost 500,000 pounds per year, and by 1670 half of the adult male population in England smoked tobacco daily.

Chesapeake Consignment System

The tobacco economy in the colonies was embedded in a cycle of leaf demand, slave labor demand, and global commerce that gave rise to the Chesapeake Consignment System. American tobacco farmers would sell their crop on consignment to merchants in London, which required them to take out loans for farm expenses from London guarantors in exchange for tobacco delivery and sale.  Further contracts were negotiated with wholesalers in Charleston or New Orleans to ship the tobacco to London merchants. The loan was then repaid with profits from their sales.

American planters responded to increased European demand by expanding the size and output of their plantations. The number of man-hours needed to sustain larger operations increased, which forced planters to acquire and accommodate additional slave labor. Furthermore, they had to secure larger initial loans from London, which increased pressure to produce a profitable crop and made them more financially vulnerable to natural disasters.

Differences between the Chesapeake and Deep South

In the Chesapeake and North Carolina, tobacco constituted a major percentage of the total agricultural output. In the Deep South, cotton and rice plantations dominated. Stark diversity in the geographic and social landscapes of these two regions contributed to differences in their respective cultures.

The Chesapeake had relatively few urban centers relative to the South. Instead, multiple markets were established along tributaries. This facilitated the persistence of smaller tobacco farms because the cost of moving tobacco to market was kept reasonable. In the south, all economic activity fed through a few heavily centralized markets, which favored large plantations that could bear the higher transportation costs. Differences in plantation size also owed significantly to the different demands of tobacco farming versus cotton and rice. Cotton and rice were cash crops, and cultivation was geared towards maximizing volume. Diminishing returns take effect on harvest quality past a certain threshold of labor investment. Tobacco, however, was considered to be more artisanal and craft-like, with limitless opportunity to improve the yield and quality. Thus, the most profitable cotton and rice operations were large and factory-like, while tobacco profits hinged on skilled, careful, and efficient labor units.

Colonial Tobacco Culture

A  culture of expertise surrounded tobacco planting. Unlike cotton or rice, cultivating tobacco was seen as an art form, and buyers understood that behind every crop of “good” tobacco was a meticulous planter with exceptional skills. Tobacco shipments were “branded” with a signature unique to its planter before they were sent overseas, and guarantors regarded brands as a seal of approval from the planter himself. One planter proclaimed of his branded tobacco, “it was made on the plantation where I live and therefore as I saw to the whole management of it my self (sic), I can with authority recommend it to be exceedingly good.” Even though not necessarily participating in the manual labor, planters took great financial stake in their final product.

Furthermore, local reputation and social status varied with the quality of one’s leaf. In his book Tobacco Culture, author T.H. Breen writes “quite literally, the quality of a man’s tobacco often served as the measure of the man.” Proficient planters, held in high regard by their peers, often exercised significant political clout in colonial governments. Farmers often spent excess profits on expensive luxury goods from London to indicate to others that their tobacco was selling well. [edit] American Revolution

American tobacco planters, including Jefferson and George Washington, financed their plantations with sizeable loans from London. When tobacco prices dropped precipitously in the 1750s, many plantations struggled to remain financially solvent. Severe debt threatened to unravel colonial power structures and destroy planters’ personal reputations. At his Mount Vernon plantation, Washington saw his liabilities swell to nearly £2000 by the late 1760s. Jefferson, on the verge of losing his own farm, aggressively espoused various conspiracy theories. Though never verified, Jefferson accused London merchants of unfairly depressing tobacco prices and forcing Virginia farmers to take on unsustainable debt loads. In 1786, he remarked:

“A powerful engine for this [mercantile profiting] was the giving of good prices and credit to the planter till they got him more immersed in debt than he could pay without selling lands or slaves. They then reduced the prices given for his tobacco so that…they never permitted him to clear off his debt.”[15]

The inability to pay what one owed was not just a financial failing, but a moral one. Planters whose operations collapsed were condemned as “sorry farmers” – unable to produce good crops and inept at managing their land, slaves, and assets. Washington excused his situation thusly:

“Mischance rather than Misconduct hath been the cause of [my debt]…It is but an irksome thing to a free mind to be always hampered in Debt.”[16]

In conjunction with a global financial crisis and growing animosity toward British rule, tobacco interests helped unite disparate colonial players and produced some of the most vocal revolutionaries behind the call for American independence. A spirit of rebellion arose from their claims that insurmountable debts prevented the exercise of basic human freedoms.

Collectibles of tabacciana are varied and many. Many items such as pipes, humidors, ashtrays, advertsing items etc. are just a few.  The tobacco industry is ingrained in our society from almost the beginning of our nation and helped to provide wealth to America in it’s quest for freedom.

Over the next month I will be marketing many items from my extensive collection of tobacciana, most notably pipes, humidors and ashtrays.  Much of my collection is also part of my asian collection of Nippon.

    

Humidors

 

    

Ashtrays – Nippon, Japanese Enamel Moriage, and Lusterware.

 

    

Hand Carved Meerschaum Pipes from Turkey.

Watch for my items at Bonanzle.com and eBay.  Go to my store now to see what is selling.  Happy Collecting and remember “The Best is Yet to Come!”

Read Full Post »


There are a number of Nippon pieces decorated with desert scenes. This seems to be a popular and highly collectible motif at this time. The pieces found feature palm trees, Bedouin tents, mosques and other buildings, and Arabs on camels.  Some of the Middle Eastern men are found wrapped in a long white robes with a hood that is called a jalabijya.  Most of these scenes are realistic looking. 

From my collection:

         

A beautiful Nippon Stein with Desert Scene. Maker’s mark #47.

 

    

A very nice Camel Rider, Nippon ashtray with the Makers’ mark #47.

 

         

Palm Trees on the Oasis, marked with the Maker’s mark #47.

 

The Arab/Desert scene vases seem to command the highest prices.  A recent auction of a particularly nice camel rider urn 16″H sold for over $2000.00.

As I said earlier this is a popular motif.  To see more of my Nippon collection visit my store at : 

Just put your cursor on my assistant “The Duck” in the upper right hand corner of this post and press enter.

Until next time Happy Collecting and remember that “The best is yet to come.”

Read Full Post »