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Petra on pottery

featuring West German art pottery, Fat Lava and more 20th century ceramics

Featuring here is a porcelain, figurine jug of 23 cm/9,1″ tall, which I believe to be from Russia. It is not marked however. Depicted are a gentleman wearing a top hat sitting at a table drinking tea from a golden samovar. Resting her head on his shoulder and her arm around it is a peasant (?) girl or maybe even a ´lady of the night´ with her loose blond hair. At the feet of the girl you can see a black cat. Next to the gentleman a brown dog is looking up at him. That about sums up what I can tell you about it, the rest I would have to guess. So let´s try.

It could be the depiction of a Russian folklore tale, it could be a social critique or even hold a moral warning. The rich and the poor issue is telling and so are the cat and the dog. But does the dog symbolize fidelity and loyalty (and trying to remind his master of it) and is the girl bad luck (symbolized by the black cat)? Or is the dog guarding his master´s wealth and is the girl cursed with bad luck and staying poor forever? Could it even be a social critique about the injustice done by the rich to the poor. In that case the top hat and the dog could symbolize the well guarded wealth of the gentleman and maybe the black cat would mean bad luck approaching or anarchy. I could speculate some more, but better to study on it some more. It is very intriguing indeed.

When was it made? Again I have to speculate. The state is immaculate, so it does not look old, but maybe porcelain does not age like pottery. The cat looked a bit 1950s to me stylistically, but that does not make sense historically. It does not strike me as something from the Soviet days and the top hat went out of fashion long before that. So, maybe the early 20th century? I am not sure really. So who made it? Maybe it is not even Russian. Where do I begin! Anyone with any ideas, please leave a comment.

For now let us just enjoy this nice piece. You can take the hat of and poor yourself a drink.


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