This is a very rare 19th century hard paste porcelain German spooner, or a spoon or utensil holder. The maker is Ernst Bohne & Sons of Rudolstadt, Thuringia, Germany. The age is circa 1887 to 1896.
This piece is quite amazing. Bohne & Sons made some incredible figural pieces in the 19th century that are quite detailed and which served a function, such as being a teapot or as with this piece, a spooner, and thus were not intended to be ornamental only. I’ve been lucky enough to have a few pieces to sell during my antiques career, so I know how high the value is for these unusual figural objects. I believe the rarity is primarily because production was limited and not exported to North America, and with the German region going through several world wars, most of the figural pieces were lost forever.
The polar bear is about 8 ¼” high to the top of the spoon, about 5 1/2” from the tip of his snout to the back of the spoon, and about 3 ¾” from one haunch to the other haunch.
The white bear is sitting on his bottom, with his rear legs up. His left front leg is holding the end of a measuring cup. The back handle is shaped like a spoon. This is all one piece, and all porcelain. The measuring cup and spoon handle are enameled in blue. The measuring cup is the top. Inside is the space where the owner rests the utensils.
The bear has an amazing face, with jaws open and four visible teeth. The throat is open, so the spooner can also be used as a tankard if desired, or as a milk pitcher or jug. The piece was not created with a lid and the original function was obviously intended to be a spooner.
The bear’s eyes are brown and black, and he is looking slightly to his right. The nose is black, with black whiskers. His paws are detailed, showing each toe. The porcelain is rippled to show his wavy fur. The glaze is white.
The porcelain maker drilled a small hole underneath the left rear paw, another one under the right rear paw, one on the left side of the upper body below the spoon handle, a fourth small hole at the bottom side of the stem on the measuring cup, and a fifth small hole at the top of the spoon handle.
There are no chips, cracks or crazing. There is a tiny spot of black on the bear’s left side. There are a few tiny color skips on the blue color.
The incised or impressed marks on the underside edge are EBS, followed by the factory or mold number of 2228.
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