Share your favorites on Show & Tell

Jugendstil Asian Aquatic Themed Bronze w/ Cabochon Opal & Ruby Marble Base

In Art Nouveau > Show & Tell and Asian > Show & Tell.
ho2cultcha's loves707 of 19024What Is It ?? Unknow Vintage Heavy Metal  Engraved lady and Birds ??  Estate FindBronze Pen Holder with Monogram
Love it
Like it

ho2cultchaho2cultcha loves this.
kwqdkwqd loves this.
auraaura loves this.
kyratangokyratango loves this.
melaniejmelaniej loves this.
Woman34Woman34 loves this.
VintagefranVintagefran loves this.
tom61375tom61375 loves this.
austrohungaroaustrohungaro loves this.
fledermausfledermaus loves this.
SEAN68SEAN68 loves this.
antikariumantikarium loves this.
racer4fourracer4four loves this.
VioletOrangeVioletOrange loves this.
vetraio50vetraio50 loves this.
aghcollectaghcollect loves this.
See 14 more
Add to collection

    Please create an account, or Log in here

    If you don't have an account, create one here.

    Create a Show & TellReport as inappropriate

    Posted 6 years ago

    (145 items)

    Sometimes you purchase on knowledge, sometimes by eye, and sometimes on faith alone. This antique fits into the latter two categories. I have no clue who sculpted it, but have some hints based upon the materials used, likely purpose and the design theme.

    First and foremost, the theme almost certainly is Asian and is a reference to an Eastern symbolic design motif used to represent an attainment of ambitions and aspirations towards wealth and prosperity. According to Chinese lore, it is said that koi (carp) attempt to swim against the powerful current of the Yellow River, so that they can swim through the Dragon Gates and be transformed into a Dragon. Because the fish made such a treacherous journey to reach its goal, it is seen as a symbol of determination and strength. Also, it is common in Asian cultures for there to be dual meaning in linguistic homophones. In Chinese, "Carp" is similar sounding to the word "business". It is also homophonic with "profit" or "advantage." "Fish" is homophonic to "surplus" or "wealth". Pearls in Asian cultures generally indicate refinement or wisdom. So, I think we can reasonably conclude that the sculptor's intention was to craft something symbolizing intellectual or literary achievement resulting in the acquisition of wealth and wisdom.

    Second, the materials used, particularly the red ruby marbled stone base was a popular material used in bronzes and other decorative/utilitarian items made or retailed in Germany/Bohemia and Italy. The style of the rendering, while using Asian symbolist motifs, is also Jugendstil. The use of a wonderful cabochon opal, instead of a pearl, also suggests that it may have had a Continental origin and/or was used as a substitute to keep production costs lower.

    Third, the purpose of the object likely rests in its size and meaning. The size and weight suggest a luxury paperweight, which is reinforced by the meaning of the design - intellectual/literary achievement with hope for wealth and wisdom.

    Lastly, the piece has a nice stylized artist mark, which could either be "AU" or "AV." I have had little luck with this latter crucial clue. There was an Italian artist working during the Jugendstil/Stile Liberty period named, Antonio Ugo, but I don't have any comparable signatures or marks from this artist.

    Dimensions: 5.5”(H) x 4.25”(W)

    Any attribution assistance or help with this piece would be most appreciated.

    Unsolved Mystery

    Help us close this case. Add your knowledge below.

    Art Nouveau
    See all
    Art Nouveau Vintage Ceramic Tile Rare Reproduction Majolica Alfred Meakin UK
    Art Nouveau Vintage Ceramic Tile Ra...
    Vintage Art Nouveau 8" Amphora Style Vase C/1920's Austria
    Vintage Art Nouveau 8" Amphora ...
    Antique 18k Gold Diamond Art Nouveau Longines Ladies Pendant Watch
    Antique 18k Gold Diamond Art Nouvea...
    See all


    1. fledermaus fledermaus, 6 years ago
      This is great and I love your interpretation! I do not know the mark but have seen similar pieces. I know the red marble is prized in Italy and just is rare and beautiful. Do you think it also had some sort of gem eyes? Great piece. We have great Koi in our pond and love to sit with them and feed them. They are very strong and powerful and the myth that they could transform into dragons is fantastic! I will see them in a new light. Even the gang of raccoons who visit the pond can not catch them. Their beauty, color and patterns inspired me to name them after great ceramic artists. Silly huh.
    2. cogito cogito, 6 years ago
      Thanks Fledermaus and others. I'm not certain if the eyes had jewels, but I'm inclined to think not given how the eye holes are textured and the even patina inside and outside the sockets. As for naming pets, not silly at all. We have cats named Phanomen (Phanny for short) and Jugend (Jug for short).
    3. cogito cogito, 6 years ago
      After some additional digging, I do believe the base to be made of Rosso Levanto Red Marble, which takes its name from the Italian town where it was discovered near the Rivera of La Spezia.
    4. cogito cogito, 6 years ago
      Thanks for the loves folks. I'm still hoping someone out there may know something about the artist to sculpted the piece. The mystery is driving me crazy!
    5. Vintagefran Vintagefran, 6 years ago
      Kind of ugly fish, but cool! Beautifully made, I'm surprised its still a mystery!

    Want to post a comment?

    Create an account or login in order to post a comment.