World Ceramics: Key Ideas

English (Lambeth)
Barber's Bowl
About 1720
Tin-glazed earthenware
3-1/2 inches high, 10-1/4 inches in diameter
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. George R. Steiner

  • The popularity of Chinese porcelain in Europe led Dutch and English manufacturers to imitate it by making blue and white TIN-GLAZED EARTHENWARE. They had not yet discovered the formula for porcelain production.

  • The design of the bowl unites images of tools of the English barber's trade (such as scissors, a razor and a comb) with bird and flower MOTIFS adapted from Chinese porcelain.

  • The shallow bowl with a semicircular opening in its broad rim proved an essential barber's tool when held closely against the neck of a man being shaved. When not in use, it hung on the wall as a decoration.

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