Lithophanes or Lithopanes?

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Iím told that the word is of Greek origin and approximates in meaning to "light in stone", or to "appear in stone".

Lithophanes or lithopanes are porcelain castings which, when you first see them, appear to be nothing more than uneven surfaces forming a vague picture with really very little to see.

How wrong can you be? Hold a lithophane to the light and marvel at the wonderful three-dimensional picture which appears with incredible depth, detail and beauty.

Popular in Europe in the mid-19th Century, lithophanes began their life as a thin sheet of beeswax. Artisans carved the pictures in the wax, then a plaster-of-Paris mould was made from the wax carving and the porcelain slip was poured into this mould to dry. Removed from the mould, the porcelain was then fired. Where the picture is the lightest, the porcelain is very thin, and where it is darkest, the porcelain is very thick.

Lithophanes may be found in the bottom of cups or steins, may be plaques or wall plates, or votive candle holders.

Wherever you find them, they will fill you with wonder at how such an image is produced and fill you with awe at their beauty.

The lithophanes on my site are Japanese, German, French, English, Hungarian, Swedish & American. Do enjoy them, but please note that the site is purely a celebration of these lovely items. I am not a dealer and cannot provide valuations!
 
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Nick's Collection
Updated 9 July 2010
 
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