This is a "lithophane"; a thin translucent porcelain night light, made using a lost art from the 1800's. When lit from behind, the light shining through the different thicknesses of the carving causes a highly detailed image to appear in front, almost magically. As you see, the illuminated image is so detailed, that it has a totally photographic quality to it! In addition, the relief of the carving gives the image a 3 dimensional quality when seen in person. To make them, we start by carving the image in a translucent wax, with the wax lit from behind. We then take a plaster mold of this engraving, and we then cast a fine porcelain clay into this mold. We then kiln fire the porcelain to 2300 degrees F. to achieve it's translucency and durability. Lithophanes were invented in France in 1827, and were popular throughout Europe till the early 1900's. They mysteriously faded from popularity with the advent of electricity, which is ironic as they look way better with electric light than candles. We first started making them 32 years ago by reproducing the antique ones. We eventually learned how to engrave our own originals, and this has been our specialty ever since. Our lithophanes truly make for a beautiful and practical piece of art that you will use daily for year after year! On this lithophane, we take this amazing art one step further by hand-applying a ceramic underglaze coloring to the back of the porcelain, and then kiln firing it again to fuse the color permanently to the porcelain. The color gently diffuses through the porcelain when lit, adding another layer of beauty to the piece. Because it is kiln fired onto the porcelain, the color will never fade or discolor. This piece is from a mid 1800's painting by Wilhelm von Kaulbach, and has been in our top 15 sellers for over 25 years! It is timeless in its beauty.
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Beautiful! Love it!