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While we're likely to think of this 9" tall hand carved Black Forest bear as a smoker's stand, to hold cigars up top and matches in the shorter stump, it's old enough to make me believe it was carved as a "spill vase". Spills are the rolled up long paper 'wands' people used to light the fireplace, having first lit the end with a match. They used old newspaper, other print for this functional item, and so a spill vase on the mantel was quite a regular item in Victorian and pre-1800 homes. For us now, he's perfect to serve fine cigars after dinner, or to hold a favorite pipe & tobacco, matches at table side in den. For me, these guys hold long stick candies for after dinner or candy canes during the Holidays. They're wonderful fun. This one is extra large, nearly as large as the ones fitted to hold a decanter and serve liqueur, and he's nicely carved and has the old glass eyes we always look for, too. These are generically referred to as "Black Forest" because most were carved as tourist souvenirs of the 19th century Grand Tour, and most hail from Swiss and German mountain regions. Though we know some carvers in other mountainous Nations of Europe were also carving similar in the 1800s to early 1900s, as well. People often refer to the Brienz bears, but bears were a popular subject and come from other regions, as well.
Very good to excellent condition, carved from a single piece of wood, this old bear is a wonderful example of the genre, and represents 19th Centiry Animalier movement, too. The anatomical accuracy and whimsical pose makes him a very popular little guy. Large enough to serve you in all sorts of creative ways, these are more fun to use than to only display. We hope you'll find just the spot for him.
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Antique Black Forest Carved Bear Cigar & Match Server, or Spill Vase, 9" Tall
San Marcos, CA
Antique French sterling silver, Georgian jewelry, sewing, Black Forest, etc 17th to 19th c. European
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