Bohemian Glass Paperweight

Description (Brief)
In the 1700s, paperweights made from textured stone or bronze were part of the writer’s tool kit, which also included a quill pen and stand, inkpot, and blotter. By the mid-1800s, decorative paperweights produced by glassmakers in Europe and the United States became highly desired collectibles.
Decorative glass paperweights reflected the 19th-century taste for intricate, over-the-top designs. Until the spread of textiles colorized with synthetic dyes, ceramics and glass were among the few objects that added brilliant color to a 19th-century Victorian interior. The popularity of these paperweights in the 1800s testifies to the sustained cultural interest in hand craftsmanship during an age of rapid industrialization.
This paperweight features a sulphide (porcelain cameo) basket with two birds resting on red and yellow glass strips, and was likely made in Bohemia.
There may have been as many as 600 active glassworks in Bohemia, the area now known primarily as the Czech Republic, by 1835. The earliest evidence of paperweights made in the area dates to 1886. Bohemian paperweights are known for their bright colors.
date made
place made
Physical Description
glass, transparent (overall material)
cut (joint piece production method/technique)
encrustation (joint piece production method/technique)
overall: 3 15/16 in x 3 1/4 in; 10.033 cm x 8.255 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Aaron and Lillie Straus
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Ceramics and Glass
Domestic Furnishings
Wonder Place
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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