Tuesday, November 25, 2008

PORCELAIN BIRDCAGE

PORCELAIN BIRDCAGE
Porcelain Birdcage

Q: I have had this object for a few years and would love to know what it is.

A: It looks like a porcelain birdcage. We've seen similar cages, some with bars over the larger holes and some with porcelain birds inside. Your cage was probably made as a decorative object and may not be very old. Can anyone tell us if we are right? The Egyptians kept pet birds over 4,000 years ago. In medieval Europe, birds were kept by the wealthy. Canaries were used to detect carbon monoxide in mines beginning in the 1800s and special cages were made to carry the birds into the mines. Electronic detectors replaced the canaries in the mines in the twentieth century, but in 1995 Japan used canaries to detect poison gas in the subways after a terrorist attack.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have one of these also and was wondering about it. Thanks for the information.

Kyndria said...

The pencil-thin transfer and the non-scenic, assemetrical design lead me to believe this is a recent reproduction. The top metal hanger is also typical of antique reproductions made in China. While the stain and crazing on the inside bottom might make it look old, it looks to me like this was used as a planter, which could cause this damage in a short period of time. My guess is that this is no older than 20 years, if that much. There is no mention of a mark.

Anonymous said...

This does not look like a bird cage to me. Rather, it looks like a candle holder, where a tea light would be slipped through that larger opening (shown to the front). The air holes would permit the candle to stay lit and it could be hung to cast light.

Of course, it's difficult to know the dimensions from a picture.

CM said...

My first thought also was a "tea light" candle holder, but on reflection, I think it is an incense burner. With a layer of sand on the bottom to prevent heat damage, it would be perfect for cone shaped incense, the openings allowing diffusion of the scented smoke

lhalterman said...

This is a Candle Holder and there would have been a pole attached so one could carry it around , maybe even in a mine or other places.

It could be a reproduction,also vintage or even early. It is also possible that it was created as a similiar item in the style of, but alas, without holding it or without better photographs of all sides it is very hard to tell.

Margaret B said...

I received one of these about 5 years ago given to me by my cousin. She said she was sure it was new. The hook at the top was a copper colored metal and has rusted with the weather in the south. There is no mark on my piece. It is about 10"H X 8" across at the bottom. I think it would be a great feeder for small birds like finches and etc. but my squirrels would damage it.

Anonymous said...

Dangerous gases in mines tend to be mixtures of methane and carbon dioxide, not carbon monoxide (which would be present only after an explosion or fire). See:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firedamp

Anonymous said...

These were sold by Hobby Lobby in
Florence, Alabama several years ago along with similar blue and white pieces, some of which were crazed. They had stick on labels reading Made in China. They are not
antiques, but may be copies.

Anonymous said...

It is a candle holder the opening in the back is so you can put the candle in and light it, turn it around and you have a pretty decorative candlelight for your patio. It hangs from a chain from the ceiling or from a shepards hook. Big Lots sold these a few years ago with almost the same painting.

A. said...

I have seen these in Hobby Lobby stores for years along with all of the other "reproduction" blue & white china items meant for home decoration. They often have a label on the bottom warning not to use them for food service. It is not labeled as to use, but could be as a candle or incense burner as suggested by others, or as a bird feeder. It would not be suitable as a bird cage since they are small and open.

Logan said...

No way that is a bird cage. Looks like a hanging lantern for a candle and not old.

Anonymous said...

This looks just like a bird feeder we bought from a local store.

Anonymous said...

These were made in china over the last five or six years and inported thru a reproduction house located in fultonville N.Y. Under the contract to make repros the chinese could not produce more for one calander year. After that they could produce these and sell them to any one. I have seen them in 3 difrent sizes. They have been priced as high as $125.00 for the largest size. When they were originally produced they were fo hangin ivey plants or just for decoration. They may be made with a lead base glaze, so I would not recomend using them for cndle holders. I hope this helps.