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Tiffany & Co. Rare and Fine Sterling and Parcel Gilt Aesthetic Movement Fruit or Salad Bowl in the Japanese Taste, c. 1880

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With its irregular honeycomb hammering of various sizes, this wonderful bowl sparkles with all the charm one expects from Tiffany & Company. The bold, splayed base is attached to the main body. Hammering decreases in size as one's eye travels up the round bowl, which also transforms into 16 lobes. The scalloped top edge is reinforced with an applied band. Whimsically hanging into the gilt interior is an applied gourd in one of the lobes. On the exterior, a small vine with leaves emerges from the top rim, as does a larger, spreading vine with a large and small gilt gourd along with leaves. Finally, a large brass beetle clings to the bowl. 

This bowl is marked 'TIFFANY & Co/ 5095 MAKERS 5179/ STERLING-SILVER/ 925-1000/ M/ 2802. It measures 8.5 inches in diameter, just over 4.5 inches high, weighs 23.65 troy ounces, has never been monogrammed, and is in excellent antique condition with light scratches on the interior from normal use.

In 1877/78, Tiffany & Co. moved to a more organic style of Japanese-inspired decoration. Led by their chief designer Edward C. Moore, Tiffany's silver department was leaving the lighter and more stylized Japonisme that characterized their earlier designs and working towards an aesthetic with bolder, more naturalistic applied decoration mounted on a spot-hammered surface.

Many of the plants and animals found on Tiffany's silver of this period were inspired directly by English design genius Christopher Dresser. Hired by Tiffany to collect Japanese objects and ship them to the U.S., Dresser's first shipment arrived in early 1877. (1) Japanese gourds and gourd plants take prominence in Tiffany's designs at this time, and many of these designs become bolder and more three-dimensional. This bowl is a very fine, organic, and three-dimensional example of this style.

Private Collection.


  1.     Loring, John: Magnificent Tiffany Silver, p. 30.