This is a wonderfully rare diorama scene of the early American whaling trade. It is estimated that the bottle was built in the early 1900s. This folk art scene in a bottle contains a whaling ship in icy waters with icebergs and glaciers. The ship has two masts and there is an American flag flying from atop of the mizzenmast. The rigging is nicely done with standing and running rigging. The masts have both shrouds and ratlines. The ships cabin is very large and is painted white with black trim and portholes. A large red and white smokestack is on top of the cabin with white smoke billowing out. There are whaling boats hanging from davits; one on each side of the cabin.
In the bow of the ship, a sailor is manning a harpoon gun. He has just fired the harpoon and it is imbedded in the back of a whale with the harpoon rope leading from the gun to the whale. Another sailor is beginning to climb the shrouds on the mainmast. A third sailor is pulling on the rigging lines in the stern of the ship. Alongside the ship in the water are two captured whales. They are shown bleeding from the harpoons and the water and ice are beginning to turn red from their blood. Both whales are blowing water from their blowholes. Near the whales is a whaling boat with two sailors rowing toward the rear whale.
On the backside of the bottle are two large raised glaciers; one toward the front of the bottle and one in the bottom area. On the glacier at the neck side of the bottle are two sailors with their whaling boat pulled up on the ice.
On the glacier in the bottom area of the bottle are two sailors trying to kill or ward off a polar bear. Both sailors have long poles in their hands and they are trying to both spear and beat a large polar bear. The men and the polar bear are wonderfully carved in a very folksy way. All of the sailors are wearing dark blue uniforms. The size of the sailors is exaggerated for the scene but this just draws interest and charm to the diorama.
The bottle is sealed with a cork wrapped in aluminum foil and extending from the foil inside the bottle is a long piece of paper with the German word "Walfischjagd" written on it - the English translation is "Whale Hunt." The bottle is a Berlin - George Broche bottle and measures 11 ¾ inches by 4 inches. It rests on a very nice custom wooden stand not original to the bottle. Inside the bottle is a little residue typical of bottles this age (see pictures).
This is a rare scene depicting early American Whaling history.
|Approx. Bottle Size||11. 3/4 inches by 4 inches|
|Bottle Type||Berlin - George Broche Bottle|
|Estimated Date||1900 - 1930|