When visitors to the Paris 1900 Universal Exposition beheld ceramics from the Austrian firm Riessner, Stellmacher & Kessel, “Amphora,” they were mesmerized by wildly imaginative vases like this one. A Far Eastern dragon wraps its formidable
body around a baluster-shaped vase, wings spread and mouth wide open in a display of imperial splendor. One of two famous dragon vase models—the other a gold-hoarding creature derived from northern European folklore—this example recalls Japanese gilt bronzes shown at the 1873 Vienna Universal Exposition, where many residents of Austro-Hungary first encountered decorative arts from the still mysterious island nation. At the Paris 1900 Universal Exposition, Amphora similarly amazed a new audience, and was awarded a gold medal for its exotic ceramic wares.
-Description by Claire Cass
Model illustrated in Vreeland, Byron, Monsters and Maidens Collectors Edition ( Los Angeles, CA: Byron Vreeland, 2011), 285.
In 1892 Alfred Stellmacher, after 17 years as a leader in ceramics production, encouraged his son and sons-in-law to establish a porcelain manufactory. Named for its owners Riessner, Stellmacher and Kessel (RSt&K), and also employing son-in-law Paul Dachsel, the firm consistently marked pieces with the word Amphora by the late 1890s and became known by that name. Several important series made between 1894 and 1904 feature realistically sculptured plants and animals, prehistoric and mythical creatures, Klimt- and Mucha-style portraits, and simulated jewels.
based in Turn-Teplitz, Austria